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THE REV. JOHN WESLEY, A.M.,
THE PREACHERS IN CONNEXION WITH HIM.
THE FORM OF DISCIPLINE
AMONG THE PREACHERS AND PEOPLE
PRINTED FOR GEORGE WHITFIELD, CITY-ROAD;
AND SOLD AT AH, THE METHODIST PREACHING-HOUSES IN TOWN
[REPRINTED FOR THE METHODIST BOOK-EOOM,
ton DON :
PRINTED BY JAMKS NICHOLS,
IN the printed Minutes of the Conference
for the year 1797 (see the authorized edition,
Vol. I., p. 360) there is the following announce-
" Whereas, we, the undersigned, have, on this and the
preceding day, carefully revised the Rules drawn up and
left us by our late venerable Father in the Gospel, the
Rev. Mr. Wesley, which were published by him in our
large Minutes, to which we consented when we were
admitted, and by which we were regulated through his
life ; and whereas we have collected together those Rules
which we believe to be essential to the existence of Method-
ism, as well as others, to which we have no objection, we
do now VOLUNTARILY and in GOOD FAITH sign our names, as
approving of, and engaging to comply with, the aforesaid
Collection of Rules, or Code of Laws, God being our
(Signed,) "THOMAS COKE, President, SAMUEL
BRADBURN, Secretary," and by WILLIAM THOMP-
SON, ALEXANDER MATHER, JOHN PAWSON,
JOSEPH BENSON, THOMAS TAYLOR, JOSEPH BRAD-
FORD, JOHN BARBER, JAMES WOOD, HENRY
MOORE, JOSEPH TAYLOR, WALTER GRIFFITH,
JOHN GAULTER, JOSEPH ENTWISLE, JONATHAN
CROWTHER, JONATHAN EDMONDSON, CHARLES
ATMORJE, RICHARD REECE, and other Preachers
present at that Conference.
In the Minutes of the same year (Vol. I., p.
374) there is an Address to the Methodist Socie-
ties, dated Leeds, August 7, 1797, and officially
signed, "in behalf and by order of the Con-
ference/' by "Thomas Coke, President," and
" Samuel Bradburn, Secretary." That Address
contains seven distinct heads or articles ; the fifth
of which (see Vol. I., p. 376) is as follows, and
refers to the " Collection of Rules or Code of
Laws " above-mentioned, as having been then
made and signed by the Preachers present :
"V. We have selected all our ancient Rules, which
were made before the death of our late venerable Father in
the Gospel, the Rev. Mr. Wesley, which are essential
Rules, or prudential at this present time ; and have solemnly
signed them, declaring our approbation of them, and de-
termination to comply with them ; one single Preacher
excepted, who, in consequence, withdrew from us."
The "Collection of Rules," thus "selected,"
" revised," and " signed," and brought down to
the year 1797, inclusive, was, by order of the Con-
ference, published in that year, in a pamphlet,
under the following title : " Minutes of several
Conversations between the Rev. John Wesley,
A.M., and the Preachers in Connexion with him :
containing the Form of Discipline established
among the Preachers and People in the Methodist
Societies. London : Printed for Q. Whitfield,
City-Road, and sold at all the Methodist Preach-
ing-Houses in Town and Country. 1779."
The date of 1779, thus given to the pamphlet,
is manifestly and indisputably a mis-print, and
ought to have been, according to the undoubted
This pamphlet, legally verified by affidavit on
oath, was produced during certain recent proceed-
ings in Chancery, and recognised as a " Code,"
both by the Vice- Chancellor, and subsequently
by the Lord Chancellor, in their very important
"judgments" upon the case then under adjudica-
tion. The latter observed, "They (the Confer-
ence) published what they considered to be the
Code of the Laws of Methodism, in the year 1797,
and they sign that Code with their names. That
very Code has been given in evidence ; it is the
document described by the letter F."
Of the original pamphlet, whose history and
authority have been thus stated, the present pub-
lication is an exact and faithful re-print. The
only known variation is the insertion of the trua
date, instead of the one which a typographical
error had introduced in the title-page of the first
THOMAS JACKSON, Editor.
July 13th, 1835.
IT should be recollected by the reader, that
this pamphlet professes to contain those Rules
and Regulations only which were in existence and
operation up to the year 1797. Many of these
have undergone important modifications, or been
wholly superseded, since that time ; and various
others have been adopted by successive Confer-
ences. The authentic sources of information on
all these particulars are the printed " Minutes "
of the Annual Conferences, signed by the President
and Secretary for the time being. A collection
of these Annual Minutes, extending from the
year 1744 to 1847, has been published in ten
volumes, 8vo., and may be had of Mr. Mason, 14,
City-road, and 66, Paternoster-row, London. In
a few instances the alterations since 1797, above-
mentioned, have been intimated, in this edition
of the " Code," by a note at the foot of the page ;
but in many cases this could not be conveniently
accomplished at present.
I. THE Design of God in sending the Method-
ist Preachers , 9
II. Rise of Methodism 9
III. Method of trying Candidates for the Minis-
IV. Office and Duty of a Methodist Preacher ... 12
V. The peculiar Business of a Superintendent . 14
VI. Method of admitting Persons into Society. . 18
VII. Admission of Local Preachers, and their
VIII. Method of holding a Conference 20
IX. Business of a Helper 20
X. Directions for obtaining higher Degrees of
XI. For obtaining a closer Union among the
XII. On preaching where we can form no So-
ciety ; and on Field-Preaching 22
XIII. On the Decrease of the Work, and the pro-
per Means of promoting a Revival 23
XIV. Against Antinomianism 25
XV. The most useful Way of preaching 27
XVI. How to guard against Formality in Public
Worship, especially in Singing 28
XVII. On visiting and instructing the People from
House to House 29
XVIII. On instructing the Children 35
XIX. On Conformity to the World, Bribery, and
XX. On marrying with Unbelievers 37
XXI. On Bankruptcies, Strangers staying at the
Society Meetings, Love Feasts, Funeral
Sermons, and talking in the Chapels 37
XXII. On Strangers being entertained at the
Preachers' Houses; and on Cleanliness... 33
XXIII. In what Cases we allow Service in Church-
XXIV. How to prevent Nervous Disorders 89
XXV. The Order of the Districts, and what Busi-
ness is to be done there 39
XXVl! Plan of General Pacification 44
XXVII. Agreement with the Trustees at Bristol, in
1794 '. 49
XXVIII. Mr. Wesley's Letter to the Conference in
1791 ; and their Determination in conse-
quence of it 51
XXIX. Certain Rules agreed to by the Conference
at different Times 52
XXX. The Rules of the Preachers' Fund 56
XXXI. Account of Kingswood School 60
XXXII. Of the Yearly Collection 62
XXXIII. How to preserve the Chapels 63
XXXIV. Regulations made at Leeds Conference in
XXXV. Sundry Advices to the Preachers 72
IT is desired, that all things be considered as in the
immediate presence of God.
That every person speak freely whatever is in his
While we are conversing, let ns have an especial
care, to set God always before us. In the interme-
diate hours, let us redeem all the time we can for pri-
vate exercises, and let us give ourselves to prayer for
one another, and for a blessing on this our labour.
THE DESIGN OF GOD IN SENDING THE METHODIST
Q. 1. IN what view may the Methodist Preachers
be considered ?
A. As messengers sent by the Lord, out of the
common way, to provoke the regular Clergy to jea-
lousy, and to supply their lack of service towards
those who are perishing for want of knowledge ; and,
above all, to reform the nation, by spreading scriptural
holiness over the land.
II. THE RISE OF METHODISM.
Q. 2. WHAT was the rise of Methodism, so called ?
A. In 1/29 the late Mr. Wesley and his brother,
upon reading the Bible, saw they could not be saved
without holiness ; they followed after it, and incited
others to do the same. In 1737 they saw holiness
comes by faith. They saw likewise, that men are
justified before they are sanctified : but still holiness
was their point.
God then thrust them out, utterly against their will,
to raise a holy people. When Satan could no other-
wise hinder this, he threw Antinomianism in the way,
which strikes directly at the root of all holiness.
III. THE METHOD OF TRYING CANDIDATES FOR
Q. 3. How shall we try those who think they are
moved by the Holy Ghost to preach the Gospel?
A. Inquire, Do they know God as a pardoning
God ? Have they the love of God abiding in them ?
Do they desire and seek nothing but God ? And are
they holy in all manner of conversation ? Have they
gifts as well as grace for the work ? Have they a
clear, sound understanding ? Have they a right judg-
ment in the things of God? Have they a just concep-
tion of salvation by faith? And has God given them
an acceptable way of speaking ? Do they speak
justly, readily, and clearly? Have they had any fruit
of their labour? Have any been truly convinced
of sin, and converted to God, by their preaching ?
As long as the above marks concur in any one, we
believe he is called of God to preach. These we
receive as sufficient proof that he is moved thereto by
the Holy Ghost.
But before any one can be received even upon trial
among us, it is necessary, that he should have been a
member of the Society for some considerable time ;
that he should have acted as a Local Preacher ; that
he should be recommended by the Quarterly Meeting
to the District-Meeting, and by that to the Confer-
ence ; and at the Conference in 1797 it was agreed,
that, before any Superintendent propose any Preacher
to the Conference as proper to be admitted on trial,
such Preacher must not only be approved of at the
March Quarterly Meeting, but must have read and
signed the General Minutes, as fully approving of
them ; nor must any one suppose, or pretend to think,
that the conversations which have been on any of these
Minutes were intended to qualify them, as in the
least to affect the spirit and design of them ; that
he should then travel four years upon trial, daring
which time he must not marry ; and being well recom-
mended by the people where he has laboured, and by
the Preachers who have laboured with him, he shall
then be received into full connexion. The proper time
for doing this is at a Conference. After serious,
solemn prayer, the following questions shall be pro-
posed to each candidate, which he shall be required to
answer as in the presence of God :
" Have you a lively faith in Christ ? Do you enjoy
a clear manifestation of the love of God to your soul ?
Have you constant power over all sin ? Do you
expect to be perfected in love in this life ? Do you
really desire and earnestly seek it ? Are you resolved
to devote yourself wholly to God, and to his work?
Do you know the Methodist plan of doctrine and
discipline? Have you read the Plain Account of the
Methodists? the Appeals to Men of Reason and Reli-
gion ? Do you know the Rules of the Society, and
of the Bands ? Are you determined by the help
of God to keep them? Do you take no snuff, tobacco,
or drams? Have you read and seriously considered
the Minutes of the Conference? Especially have you
considered the Rules of a Helper? and, above all, the
first, tenth, and twelfth ? and will you keep them for
conscience sake ? Are you determined to employ all
your time in the work of God ? Will you preach every
morning and evening when opportunity serves, endea-
vouring not to speak too long or too loud? Will you
diligently instruct the children where you can ? Will
you visit from house to house where it may be done ?
Will you recommend fasting and prayer, both by
precept and example? Are you in debt?"
Having answered the above questions to our satis-
faction, we then give him the Minutes of the Conference
inscribed thus :
" To A. B.
" You think it your duty to call sinners to repent-
ance. Make full proof hereof, and we shall rejoice to
receive you as a fellow-labourer." *
IV. THE OFFICE AND DUTY OF A METHODIST
Q. 4. WHAT is the office of a Christian Minister?
A. To watch over souls as he that must give
account ; to feed and guide the flock.
Q. 5. How shall he be fully qualified for this great
A. By walking closely with God, and having His
work greatly at heart ; by understanding and loving
every branch of our discipline ; and by carefully and
constantly observing the twelve rules of an Helper ;
1 . Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be
triflingly employed. Never while away time, nor spend
more time at any place than is strictly necessary.
2. Be serious. Let your motto be, " Holiness to
the Lord." Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish
* It was Mr. Wesley's practice to give a copy of the Minutes
thus inscribed to each Preacher, when he was admitted on trial.
When he had passed acceptably through the period of his proba-
tion, and was admitted into full connexion with the Conference,
the Minutes were presented to him with the following inscrip-
tion : " As long as you freely consent to, and earnestly endea-
vour to walk by, these Rules, we shall rejoice to acknowledge
you as a fellow-labourer." See Mr. Wesley's Works, Vol. VIII.,
p. 326. EDITOR.
3. Converse sparingly and cautiously with women,
particularly with young women.
4. Take no step towards marriage without solemn
prayer to God, and consulting with your brethren.
5. Believe evil of no one, unless fully proved ; take
heed how you credit it. Put the best construction
you can on everything. You know the Judge is
always supposed to be on the prisoner's side.
6. Speak evil of no one ; else your word, espe-
cially, would eat as doth a canker : keep your thoughts
within your own breast, till you come to the person
7. Tell every one what you think wrong in him,
lovingly and plainly, and as soon as may be, else it
will fester in your own heart. Make all haste to cast
the fire out of your bosom.
8. Do not affect the gentleman. A Preacher of the
Gospel is the servant of all.
9. Be ashamed of nothing but sin ; no, not of
cleaning your own shoes, when necessary.
10. Be punctual. Do every thing exactly at the
time. And do not mend our Rules, but keep them,
and that for conscience sake.
1 1 . You have nothing to do but to save souls.
Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go
always, not only to those who want you, but to those
who want you most.
12. Act in all things, not according to your own
will, but as a son in the Gospel, and in union with
your brethren. As such, it is your part to employ
your time as our Rules direct ; partly in preaching and
visiting from house to house, partly in reading, medi-
tation, and prayer. Above all, if you labour with us
in our Lord's vineyard, it is needful that you should
do that part of the work which the Conference shall
advise, at those times and places which they shall
judge most for His glory.
Observe : It is not your business to preach so many
times, and to take care merely of this or that Society ;
but to save as many souls as you can ; to bring as
many sinners as you possibly can to repentance, and,
with all your power, to build them up in that holiness
without which they cannot see the Lord. Aud remem-
ber, a Methodist Preacher is to mind every point,
great and small, in the Methodist discipline. There-
fore you will need all the grace and all the sense you
have ; and to have all your wits about you.
V. THE PECULIAR BUSINESS OF A
Q. 6. WHAT is the business of a Superintendent f
A. To see that the other Preachers in his Circuit
behave well, and want nothing. He should consider
these (especially if they are young men) as his pupils ;
into whose behaviour and studies he should frequently
inquire ; and, at proper times, should ask, Do you
walk closely with God? Have you now fellowship
with the Father and the Son ? At what hour do you
rise ? Do you punctually observe the morning and
evening hour of retirement ? Do you spend your time
profitably ? Do you converse seriously, usefully, and
closely? Do you use all the means of grace yourself,
and enforce the use of them on all other persons ?
These are either instituted or prudential :
1. THE INSTITUTED are these: 1. Prayer: In
private, in the family, and in public ; consisting of
deprecation, petition, intercession, and thanksgiving.
Do you use each of these ?
Do you use private prayer every morning and even-
ing at least ; if you can, at six in the evening, and
the hour before or after morning preaching ? Do you
forecast daily, wherever you are, how to secure these
hours ? Do you avow it everywhere ? Do you ask
everywhere, Have you family prayer ? Do you retire
at six o'clock ?
2. Searching the Scriptures, by reading constantly,
some part every day, all the Bible, in order, carefully,
seriously, and with earnest prayer before and after;
and do this fruitfully, immediately practising what you
learn there. (2.) Meditating, at set times, by a fixed
rule. (3.) Hearing the word preached at all oppor-
tunities, carefully, with earnest prayer to God for a
blessing upon His word. Have you a New Testament
always about you?
3. The Lord's supper. Do you use this at every
opportunity? with solemn prayer, and with earnest
and deliberate self-devotion ?
4. Fasting. Do you fast every Friday ? The neg-
lect of this is sufficient to account for our feebleness
and faintness of spirit. We are continually grieving
the Holy Spirit by the habitual neglect of a plain
duty ! Let us amend from this hour. There are
several degrees of fasting, which cannot hurt your
health. Begin next Friday, and avow this duty
wherever you go. Touch no tea, coffee, or chocolate
in the morning ; but, if you want it, a little milk or
water-gruel. Dine on potatoes ; and, if you want it,
eat three or four ounces of flesh in the evening. But
at other times eat no flesh-suppers. These exceedingly
tend to breed nervous disorders.
5. Christian conference. Are you convinced how
important, and how difficult, it is to order your con-
versation aright ? Is it always in grace, seasoned with
salt, meet to minister grace to the hearers ? Do not
you converse too long at a time ? Is not an hour
commonly enough ? Would it not be well always to
have a determinate end in view ? and always to con-
clude with prayer ?
II. PRUDENTIAL MEANS we may use, either as
common Christians, or as Preachers of the Gospel.
1. As common Christians. What particular rules
have you in order to grow in grace ? what arts of holy
2. As Preachers. Do you meet every Society, also
the Leaders, and the bands, if there are any ? Do
you live in holy watchfulness ; denying yourself ;
taking up your cross ; and in the exercise of the
presence of God ? Do you steadily watch against the
world, the devil, yourself, and your besetting sin ?
Do you deny yourself every useless pleasure of sense,
imagination, and honour ? Are you temperate in all
things ? Instance in food : Do you use only that
kind, and that degree, -which is best both for your
body and soul ? Do you see the necessity of this ?
Do you eat no more at each meal than is necessary?
Do you eat no flesh suppers, and no late suppers?
Do you use only that kind and degree of drink which
is best both for your body and soul ? Do you drink
water, or wine, or ale ? Do you want these ?
Wherein do you take up your cross daily ? Do you
cheerfully bear your cross (whatever is grievous to
nature) as a gift of God, and labour to profit thereby ?
Do you endeavour to set God always before you ?
to see his eye continually fixed upon you ? Never can
you use these means but a blessing must ensue. And
the more you use them, the more you will grow in
A Superintendent ought also to visit the classes
quarterly, to regulate the bands, and to deliver
tickets ; to take in or to put out of the Society, or the
bands: At the Conference in 1797 it was agreed,
that the Leaders' Meeting shall have a right to declare
any person on trial improper to be received into the
Society ; and after such declaration the Superintendent
shall not admit such person into the Society. And
no person shall be expelled from the Society for
immorality, till such immorality be proved at a Lead-
ers' Meeting : To keep watch-nights and lovefeasts ;
to hold Quarterly Meetings, and there diligently to
inquire both into the temporal and spiritual state
of the Societies ; to take care that every Society be
supplied with books ; to send to London a circum-
stantial account of every remarkable conversion, and
of every remarkable death ; to take an exact list of all
the Societies in his Circuit once a year ; to meet the
married men and women, and the single men and
women, in the large Societies, once a year ; and to
overlook the accounts of the Stewards.
The following advices are recommended to all the
Leave your successor a regular catalogue of all the
Societies in the Circuit. See that every Band-Leader
has the Band-Rules. Calmly and vigorously enforce
the rules concerning needless ornaments, drams, snuff,
and tobacco : give no band-ticket to any person who
does not promise to leave them off. As soon as there
are four men or women believers in any place, put
them into a band. Suffer no lovefeast to last more
than an hour and half ; and instantly stop all from
breaking the cake with one another. Warn all from
time to time, that none are to remove from one Society
to another, without a certificate from the Superintend-
ent in these words : " A. B., the bearer, is a member
of our Society in C. I believe he has a sufficient
reason for removing." Everywhere recommend de-
cency and cleanliness. Cleanliness is next to godli-
ness. Read the Thoughts upon Dress once a year in
every large Society. In visiting the classes be very
mild, but very strict. Give no ticket to any who
follow the foolish fashions of the world. Meet the
bands once a week ; and keep a lovefeast for them
only, once a quarter. Exhort every believer to em-
brace the advantage. Give a band-ticket to none, till
they have met a quarter on trial.
As we always wish to act by united counsels, and
as we desire that every person in any office in our
Societies should fulfil the duties of his station, it is
the duty of the Superintendent to take care, that the
Leaders be not only men of sound judgment, but men
truly devoted to God : let each of them be diligently
examined concerning his method of meeting a class.
Let this be done at the quarterly visitation of the
classes. And, in order to this, allow sufficient time
for the visiting of each Society.
Let each Leader carefully inquire how every soul in
his class prospers ; not only how each person observes
the outward Rules, but how he grows in the know-
ledge and love of God. Endeavour to make the
meeting of the classes lively and profitable. Therefore
change improper Leaders. But, in doing this, or in
appointing a new Leader, great care and tenderness
must be used ; and it is highly necessary to consult
the rest of the Leaders on such occasions. It was
agreed at the Conference in 1797, that no person shall
be appointed a Leader, or Steward, or be removed
from his office, but in conjunction with the Leaders'
Meeting j the nomination to be in the Superintendent,
and the approbation or disapprobation in the Leaders'
Let the Leaders frequently meet each other's
Let us observe which of the Leaders are the most
useful ; and let these meet the other classes as often
VI. THE METHOD OF ADMITTING PERSONS INTO
Q. 7. How shall we prevent improper persons from
insinuating themselves into the Society ?
A. 1. Give notes to none but those who are recom-
mended by a person you know ; or till they have met
three or four times in a class, and are recommended
by the Leader.
2. Give tickets to none till they are recommended
by a Leader with whom they have met two months on
trial. Give them the Rules of the Society the first
time they meet.
3. In large towns, admit persons into the Society
on the Sunday following the visitation of the classes,
by reading their names over ; then read also the
names of those who are excluded. And admit persons
into the bands at the quarterly lovefeast after the
4. As to the exclusion of members from the Society,
the far greater number exclude themselves, by utterly
forsaking us ; but with respect to others, let the Rules
of the Society be carefully attended to, and the Lead-
ers be consulted on such occasions, and the crime
proved to their satisfaction.
5. Let one or more of the Stewards be changed
once a year. The proper time for doing this is at a
Quarterly Meeting, when the Superintendent shall con-
sult all who are present respecting who may be the
most proper persons to act in that capacity.
VII. RESPECTING THE ADMISSION OF LOCAL
PREACHERS, AND THEIR DUTY.
6. RESPECTING the admission of persons to be
Local Preachers : Let the Superintendent regularly
meet the Local Preachers once a quarter ; and let
none be admitted but those who are proposed and
approved at that meeting ; and if in any Circuit this
cannot be done, then let them be proposed and
approved in the general Quarterly Meeting.
7. Every Local Preacher shall meet in class, and
conform to all our Rules of Discipline. Let none be
excused in this respect.
Let no Local Preacher be permitted to preach in
any other Circuit, without producing a recommenda-
tion from the Superintendent of that Circuit in which
he lives ; nor suffer any invitation to be admitted as a
plea, but from men in office, with the consent of the
Superintendent of that Circuit. The design of this
Rule is to prevent any under the character of a Local
Preacher from burdening the people, either by collect-
ing money, or by living upon them ; and to prevent
improper persons, who bear no part of the expense,
from inviting Local Preachers to visit them. But it
never was intended to reflect the least disrespect on any
of our worthy brethren the Local Preachers ; who,
considered as a body, we greatly respect.
8. Let no Local Preacher keep lovefeasts without
the consent of the Superintendent, nor in any wise
interfere with his business. Let every one keep in
his own place, and attend to the duties of his station.
VIII. THE REGULAR METHOD OF HOLDING A
Q. 8. WHAT is the method wherein we usually
proceed in our Conferences ?
A. 1. Elect a President and Secretary.
2. Inquire what Preachers have died the preceding
3. What Preachers have desisted from travelling.
4. What Preachers are to be admitted.
5. Who remain on trial : and who are to be
admitted on trial.
6. Inquire into the objections which may be pro-
duced against any of the Preachers, who are to be
examined one by one.
7. Appoint the Preachers to their respective stations
for the ensuing year.
8. What numbers are in the Societies.
9. What is the Kingswood Collection.
10. What boys are to be received into the school,
and what girls to be assisted.
1 1 . What is the Yearly Collection ; and how this is
12. What is contributed to the Preachers' Fund;
and who are to be relieved out of it.
13. How many Preachers' wives are to be provided
for, and by what Societies.
14. Where and when may the next Conference be.*
IX. THE PROPER BUSINESS OF A HELPER.
Q. 9. WHAT is the particular business of those
Preachers who do not act as Superintendents ?
* In consequence of the growing extent of the Connexion,
the business of the Conference has of late years been greatly
increased beyond the subjects here specified. But much of the
business which formerly occupied the time of the Conference is
now transacted in preparatory Committees, consisting partly
of laymen, and partly of Travelling Preachers. EDIT.
A. To feed the flock, by constantly preaching
morning and evening ; to meet the Society and the
bands weekly ; to meet the Leaders weekly ; to preach
every morning where he can have twenty hearers,
but where he cannot, then to sing and pray with
them ; and to do any other part of the work which
the Superintendent may desire him to do.
Q. 10. Should any of our Preachers follow trades?
A. The question is not, whether they may not occa-
sionally work with their hands, as St. Paul did ; but
whether it be proper for them to buy or sell any kind
of merchandise. It is fully determined that this shall
not be done by any Preacher ; no, not the selling
of pills, drops, or balsams.
X. DIRECTIONS FOR OBTAINING HIGHER
DEGREES OF HOLINESS.
Q. 11. WHY are not we ourselves more holy ? Why
do we not live in eternity ? Why do we not walk with
God all the day long ? Why are we not wholly devoted
to God, breathing the whole spirit of Missionaries ?
A. Because we are idle. We forget our first Rule :
" Be diligent ; never be unemployed." Do we spend
as many hours in a day in God's work, as we did
formerly in man's work ? Do not some of us spend
too much time in talking, or in reading history, news-
papers, or other books, which have no tendency either
to make us more holy or more useful ?
That this may no longer be the case, as often as
possible, rise at four o'clock. From four to five in
the morning, and from six to seven in the evening,
meditate, pray, and read, partly the holy Scriptures,
and partly the most close and practical parts of what
Mr. Wesley has published. From six in the morning
till twelve (allowing an hour for breakfast) read in
order, with much prayer, the Christian Library, and
all our other books, whether in prose or in verse, and
especially all Mr. Wesley's Sermons.
If any one will say, " I read only the Bible ;" then
he ought to teach others to read only the Bible, and,
by the same rule, to hear only the Bible. If you need
no other book but the Bible, you are got above St.
Paul. He wanted others too : " Bring the books,"
says he, "but especially the parchments." If any
say, "I have no taste for reading;" then you must
contract a taste for it by use, or return home again.
In the afternoon visit as many of the sick, and
those who want your help, as you can ; and you will
have work enough for all your time. Then no Preacher
will stay with us who is as salt that hath lost its savour ;
for to such this employment would be mere drudgery.
And in order to it, you will have need of all the useful
knowledge you can procure.
XI. DIRECTIONS FOR OBTAINING A CLOSER UNION
AMONG THE PREACHERS.
Q. 12. WHAT can be done in order to a closer
union of our Preachers with each other?
A. Let them be deeply convinced of the absolute
necessity of it. Let them pray for a desire of union.
Let them speak freely and lovingly to each other.
When they meet, let them never part without prayer.
Let them beware how they despise each other's gifts.
Let them never speak slightingly of each other in any
kind. Let them defend each other's characters in
everything as far as they can with a good conscience.
And let them labour in honour to prefer the other
XII. ON PREACHING WHERE WE CAN FORM NO
SOCIETY; AND ON FIELD-PREACHING.
Q. 13. Is it advisable to continue preaching in
those places where we find that we can form no
A. By no means ; we have made the trial in various
places. But the seed has fallen by the highway side ;
there is scarce any fruit remaining.
Q. 14. Where shall we endeavour to preach the
A. Where there is the greatest number of quiet and
willing hearers ; and where the Lord is in a peculiar
manner reviving his work.
Q. 15. Have we not used field-preaching too spar-
A. We have. Because our call is to save that which
is lost. Now we cannot expect them to seek us.
Therefore we should go and seek them ; because we
are peculiarly called to go into the highways and
hedges, to compel them to come in ; because that rea-
son against it is not good, " The house will hold all
that come :" the house may hold all that come to the
house, but not all that would come to the field.
The greatest hinderance to this you may expect
from the rich, or cowardly, or lazy Methodists. But
regard them not, neither Stewards, Leaders, nor peo-
ple. Whenever the weather will permit, go out in the
name of the Lord into the most public places, and call
upon all to repent and believe the Gospel ; every
Sunday in particular; especially where there are old
Societies, lest they should settle upon their lees. The
Stewards will frequently oppose this lest they lose
their usual collections. But this is not a sufficient
reason against it. Shall we barter souls for money ?
XIII. ON THE DECREASE OF THE WORK, AND THE
PROPER MEANS OF PROMOTING A REVIVAL.
Q. 16. How can we account for the decrease of the
work of God in any Circuit ?
A. It may be owing to the want of zeal and exact-
ness in the Superintendent, occasioning the want
of discipline throughout ; or to the want of life and
diligence in the Preachers ; or to the people's losing
Hie life of God, and sinking into the spirit of the
world. It may be owing to the want of more field-
preaching ; or of visiting more new places.
Q. 17. What can be done in order to revive the
work of God where it is decayed?
A. Let every Preacher read carefully over the Life
and Journals of the late Mr. Wesley, the Life of Mr.
Fletcher, the Life of David Brainerd ; and let us be
followers of them as they were of Christ, in absolute
self-denial, in total deadness to the world, and in fer-
vent love to God and man. Let us only secure this
point, and the world and the devil must fall under our
Let all the Preachers be conscientiously exact in the
whole Methodist discipline ; and take care that no
Circuit be at any time without Preachers.
Strongly and explicitly exhort all believers to go on
to perfection. We all agree to defend this doctrine ;
meaning thereby, salvation from all sin, by the love
of God and man filling the heart. We say, " That this
may be attained in this life." The substance then is
settled. And as to the circumstance, " Is this change
gradual or instantaneous ?" it is both the one and the
other. From the time we are justified, there ought to
be a gradual sanctification, a growing in grace, a daily
advance in the knowledge and love of God. And
if sin cease before death, there must, in the nature
of the thing, be an instantaneous change. There must
be a last moment wherein it does exist, and a first
moment wherein it does not. But should we, in
preaching, insist both upon the one and the other?
Certainly, we must insist on the gradual work, and
that earnestly and constantly. And are there not rea-
sons why we should insist on the instantaneous work
also ? If there be such a blessed change before death,
should we not encourage all believers to expect it ? and
the rather, because constant experience shows, that
the more earnestly they expect this, the more swiftly
and steadily does the gradual work of God go on in
their souls; the more watchful they are against all sin,
the more careful to grow in grace, the more zealous
of good works, and the more punctual in their attend-
ance upon all the ordinances of God. Whereas, just
the contrary effects are observed whenever this expect-
ation ceases. They are saved by hope ; by this hope
of a total change with a gradually increasing ^Ivation.
Destroy this hope, and that salvation standHstill, or
rather decreases daily. Therefore, whosoever would
advance the gradual change in believers should strongly
insist on the instantaneous.
XIV. AGAINST ANTINOMIANISM.
Q. 1 8. WHAT is most destructive of Methodism, or
the doctrine of inward holiness ?
A. Calvinism, that is, the doctrine of unconditional
predestination. All the devices of Satan have done
far less towards stopping this work of God than that
single doctrine. It strikes at the root of salvation
from sin, previous to glory ; it puts the matter quite
upon another footing. This doctrine seems to magnify
Christ ; although in reality it supposes him to have
died in vain. For the absolutely elect must have been
saved without him, and the non-elect cannot be saved
by him. It is highly pleasing to flesh and blood ;
unconditional perseverance in particular.
Let all our Preachers carefully read over Mr.
Wesley's and Mr. Fletcher's tracts.
Let them frequently and explicitly preach the whole
truth, though not in a controversial way. Let them
take care to do it in love and gentleness.
Lay hold upon any that you find newly convinced
of the truth, and warn them against predestination.
Answer all their objections as occasion offers, both in
public and in private. But do this with all possible
sweetness both of look and accent. Frequently warn
our people against hearing that doctrine. And pray
much, that the Lord may prevent the evil.
We said in 1744, " We have leaned too much toward
Calvinism." Wherein ?
With regard to man's faithfulness. Our Lord him-
self taught us to use the expression, and therefore we
ought never to be ashamed of it. We ought steadily
to assett, upon his authority, that if a man is not
faithfulRi the unrighteous mammon, God will not give
him the'true riches.
With regard to working for life, which our Lord
expressly commands us to do : " Labour," py?<r0e,
that is, work, " for the meat that endureth to everlast-
ing life." And, in fact, every believer, till he comes
to glory, works for, as well as from, life.
We have received it as a maxim, that a man is to do
nothing in order to justification. Nothing can be more
false. Whosoever desires to find favour with God
should cease from evil, and learn to do well. So God
himself teaches by the Prophet Isaiah. Whosoever
repents should do works meet for repentance. And
if this is not in order to find favour, what does he do
Once more review the whole affair. Who of us is
now accepted of God ? He that now believes in Christ
with a loving, obedient heart. But who among those
that never heard the Gospel ? He that, according to
the light he has, feareth God and worketh righteous-
ness. Is this the same with, He that is sincere ?
Nearly, if not quite. Is not this salvation by works ?
Not by the merit of works, but by works as a condi-
tion. What then have we been disputing about for
these thirty years ? I am afraid, about words ; namely,
in some of the foregoing instances.
As to merit itself, of which we have been so dread-
fully afraid : We are rewarded according to our works,
yea, because of our works. How does this differ from,
"for the sake of our works?" And how differs this
from secundum merita operum ? which is no more than,
" as our works deserve." Let him that can, split the
The grand objection to one of the preceding propo-
sitions is drawn from matter of fact : God does in fact
justify those who, by their own confession, neither
feared God, nor wrought righteousness. Is this an
exception to the general rule ? It is a doubt whether
God makes any exception at all. But how are we sure,
that the person in question never did fear God and
work righteousness ? His own thinking eflhis no
proof. For we know, how all who are convince* of sin
undervalue themselves in every respect.
Does not talking, without proper caution, of a justi-
fied or a sanctified state, tend to mislead men ; almost
naturally leading them to trust in what was done in
one moment ? Whereas we are every moment pleasing
or displeasing to God, according to our works ;
according to the whole of our present inward tempers,
and outward behaviour.*
XV. THE MOST USEFUL WAY OF PREACHING.
Q. 19. WHAT is the best general method of
A. To invite, to convince, to offer Christ, to build
up ; and to do this in some measure in every sermon.
The most effectual way of preaching Christ is to
preach him in all his offices ; and to declare his law as
well as his Gospel, both to believers and unbelievers.
Let us strongly insist upon inward and outward holi-
ness ; and, with this view, set forth Christ as evidently
crucified before their eyes ; Christ in all the riches
of his grace, justifying us by his blood, and sanctify-
ing us by his Spirit. Always suit your subject to the
state of your audience. Choose the plainest texts you
can. Take care not to ramble, but keep to your text,
and make out what you take in hand. Be sparing in
spiritualizing or allegorizing. Let your whole deport-
* The sense in which these doctrinal Minutes are to be
understood is clearly stated by Mr. Fletcher, in his admirable
" Checks to Antinomianism ; " who has also proved them to be
strictly scriptural. EDIT.
ment before the congregation be serious, weighty, and
solemn. Take care of anything awkward or affected,
either in your gesture, phrase, or pronunciation. Do
not usually pray above eight or ten minutes, before or
after the sermon. Be sure never to disappoint a con-
gregation, unless in case of life or death ; and begin
and oB exactly at the time. The evening preaching
should *never begin later than seven o'clock, unless in
time of harvest. Young Preachers might often exhort
without taking a text.
Everywhere avail yourself of the great festivals, by
preaching on the occasion, and singing our hymns,
which you should take care to have in readiness.*
XVI. HOW TO GUARD AGAINST FORMALITY IN
PUBLIC WORSHIP, ESPECIALLY IN SINGING.
Q. 20. How shall we guard against formality in
public worship ?
A. By carefully warning the people against it. By
taking care that our own minds are duly affected by
the truths we preach ; never losing sight of ourselves.
By choosing such hymns as are suitable to the con-
gregation. By singing not too much at once, seldom
more than five or six verses. By suiting the tune to
the words. By sometimes seriously asking the people,
" Now, do you know what you said last ? Did you
speak no more than you felt ? "
Is not formality in singing creeping in, singing
those complex tunes and anthems which it is scarcely
possible to sing with devotion ? The repeating the
same words so often, and especially while another is
repeating other words, (the horrid abuse which runs
through the modern church music,) as it shocks all
* The principal hymns on the great festivals of the church,
here referred to, are inserted in the " Supplement " to the
Hymn- Book in general use among the Methodists; so that there
is not now the same necessity for providing those hymns as
separate publications. EDIT.
common sense, so it necessarily brings in dead
formality, and has no religion in it. Besides it is a
flat contradiction to our Lord's command, " Use not
vain repetitions ; " for what is a vain repetition if this
is not ? What end of devotion does it serve ? Sing
Do not suffer the people to sing too sldfr : this
naturally tends to formality. In every large Society
let them learn to sing ; and let them always learn our
own tunes first. Let the women constantly sing their
own parts alone : let no man sing with them, unless
he understands the notes, and sings the bass. Intro-
duce no new tunes, till they are perfect in the old
ones. Let no organ be placed anywhere, till it be
proposed at the Conference. Recommend the Tune-
book everywhere ; and if you cannot sing yourself,
choose a person or two in each place to pitch the tune
for you. Exhort every one, whether man or woman,
in the congregation, to sing. If a Preacher be pre-
sent, let no other person give out the words. When
they wish to teach the congregation to sing any new
tune, they should only sing the tenor.
XVII. ON VISITING AND INSTRUCTING THE
PEOPLE FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE.
Q. 21. How shall we farther assist those who are
under our care ?
A. By instructing them from house to house. The
necessity of this will appear if we consider, that per-
sonal religion, either towards God or man, is still very
much wanted among us. How little living faith is
there amongst us ! how little communion with God !
how little living in heaven, walking in eternity, dead-
ness to every creature ! how much love of the world,
desire of pleasure, of ease, of getting money !
How little brotherly love! what continual judging
one another ! what gossiping, evil-speaking, tale-
bearing ! what want of moral honesty ! Who does H9
he would be done by in buying and selling, especially
in selling horses ?
Family religion is very much wanting among us.
Our religion is not deep, universal, and uniform ; but
-too superficial, partial, and uneven. Public preaching
alone, though we could preach like angels, will not be
sufficient to reform those evils : we must therefore
visit from house to house.
But we shall find many hinderances to this, both in
ourselves and in the people.
1. In ourselves there is much dulness and laziness,
so that there will be much ado to get us to be faithful
in the work. We have a base man-pleasing temper,
so that we let men perish, for fear of offending them ;
we let them go quietly to hell lest they should be
angry with us. Some of us have a foolish bashfulness.
We know not how to begin, and blush to contradict
the devil. But the greatest hinderance is weakness
of faith. Our whole motion is weak, because the
spring is weak. We are unskilful in the work. How
few know how to deal with men, so as to get within
them, and suit all our discourse to their several condi-
tions and tempers ! to choose the fittest subjects, and
follow them with a holy mixture of seriousness and
terror, of love and meekness.
2. And we shall meet with many difficulties from
the people. Some of them will be unwilling to be
taught, till we conquer their perverseness by the force
of reason, and the power of love. We shall find it
difficult to fix things in their minds, without which all
our labour will be lost. 'If we have not, therefore,
great seriousness and fervency, what good can we
expect ? And after all, it is grace alone that must do
the work. And when we have made some good
impressions upon their hearts, if we do not look after
them, they will die away.
We shall find that many are very ignorant, and
know but little of the nature of repentance, of faith,
and of holiness. Most of them have a sort of con-
fidence that God will save them, while the world has
their hearts, and evil tempers have dominion over
them. This private instruction is implied in those
solemn words of the Apostle : "I charge thee, before
God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the
quick and the dead at his appearing, preach the word ;
be instant in season, out of season ; reprove, rebuke,
exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine."
brethren, if we could set this work on foot in all
our Societies, and prosecute it zealously, what glory
would redound to God ! If the common ignorance
were banished, and the people in every house and in
every shop were busied in speaking of the word and
works of God, surely the Lord would dwell in our
habitations, and make us his delight.
And this is absolutely necessary, as many of our
people neither repent nor believe to this day. Look
round, and see how many are still in danger of damna-
tion ; and then say, How can we walk, and talk, and
be cheerful with such people, when we know their
case ? When we look such persons in the face, ought
we not to break forth into tears, as the Prophet did
when he looked upon Hazael, and then set upon them
with the most vehement and importunate exhortations ?
0, for God's sake, and for the sake of poor souls, let
us bestir ourselves, and spare no pains that may con-
duce to their salvation !
What cause have we to blush before the Lord this
day, that we have so long neglected this good work !
If we had but set upon it sooner, how many more
might we have brought to Christ ? And how much
holier and happier might we have made our Societies
before now? And why might we not have done it
sooner ? There were many hinderances, and so there
always will be. But the greatest hinderance was in
ourselves, in our littleness of faith and love.
It is objected : " This will take up too much time,
so that we shall not be able to follow our studies."
Gaining useful knowledge is a good thing ; but still
saving souls is better. By this very thing we shal
gain the most excellent knowledge, that of God and
eternity. We shall likewise have time for gaining
other knowledge, too, if we spend all our mornings
therein. Only sleep not more than we need, and never
be idle, or triflingly employed. But if we can do but
one, then let our studies alone. Better throw away
all the libraries in the world, than be guilty of the loss
of one soul.
If some of the people will not submit to it, others
will ; and the success with them will repay us for all
our labour. let us follow the example of St. Paul !
for our general business, " Serving the Lord with all
humility of mind ; " our special work, " Take heed
to yourselves, and to all the flock ; " our doctrine,
" Repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord
Jesus Christ ; " the place, " I have taught you p.ub-
licly, and from house to house ; " the object and
manner of teaching, " I ceased not to warn every one,
night and day, with tears ; " his innocence and self-
denial herein, " I have coveted no man's silver or
gold ; " his patience, " Neither count I my life dear
unto myself." And among all our motives, let these
be ever before our eyes, " The church of God, which
he hath purchased with his own blood : grievous
wolves will enter in ; yea, of ourselves men will arise,
speaking perverse things." Let us write this upon
our hearts, and it will do us more good than twenty
We shall find it no easy matter to teach the igno-
rant the principles of religion. So true is the remark
of Bishop Usher : " Great scholars may think this
work beneath them : but they should consider, the
laying the foundation skilfully, as it is of the greatest
importance, so it is the master-piece of the wisest
builder." And let the wisest of us all try, whenever
we please, we shall find, that to lay this ground-work
rightly, to make the ignorant understand the grounds
of religion, will put us to the trial of all our skill.
Perhaps, in doing this, it may be well, after a few
loving words, spoken to all in the house, to take each
person singly into another room, where we may deal
closely with him, about his sin, his misery, and his
duty : these must be set home, or all our labour is
lost. At least, let none be present but those who are
familiar with each other.
The sum is, go into every house in course, and
teach every one therein, young and old, if they belong
to us, to be Christians, inwardly and outwardly. Make
every particular plain to their understanding, fix it in
their memory, write it in their heart. In order to
this, there must be line upon line, precept upon pre-
cept. What patience, what love, what knowledge is
requisite for this !
We may, as we have time, read, explain, and enforce
the Instructions for Children ; the fourth volume of
Sermons ; and Mr. Henry's Method of Family Prayer.
Do we not loiter away many hours in a day? Let
each try himself: no idleness can consist with growth
in grace. Nay, without exactness in redeeming time,
we cannot retain the grace we received in justification.
What shall we do for the rising generation? Unless
we take care of this, the present revival will last only
the age of a man. Who will labour herein ? Let him
that is zealous for God and the souls of men begin now.
We must hear what the children have learned by
heart. Choose some of the weightiest points, and try
if they understand them ; such as, " Do you believe
you are a sinner? What does sin deserve? What
remedy has God provided for guilty, helpless sinners?"
Often with the question suggest the answer; as,
" What is repentance ? Sorrow for sin, arising from a
conviction that we are guilty, helpless sinners?"
" What is faith ? A divine conviction of things not
seen?" When we perceive that they do not under-
stand the stress of the question, lead them into it by
other questions. For instance : we ask, " How do you
think that your sins will be pardoned?" They an-
swer, " By repenting, and amending my life." We
ask farther, " But will your amendment make satisfac-
tion for your past sins?" They will answer, "I hope
so, or I know not what will." One would think that
these had no knowledge of Christ at all ; and some
of them have not. But others have, and give such
answers, only because they do not understand the
scope of the question. If we ask them farther, " Can
you be saved without the death of Christ?" they im-
mediately say, "No!" And if we ask, "What has
he suffered for you?" they will say, "He shed his
blood for us." But many cannot express even what they
have some conception of; no, not even when expres-
sions are put into their mouths. With these we are
to deal exceeding tenderly, lest they be discouraged.
If we perceive them to be troubled, that they cannot
answer, we must take the burden off them ; answering
the question thoroughly and plainly, making a full
explication of the whole business to them.
When we have tried their knowledge, we must pro-
ceed to instruct them, according to their several capa-
cities. If a man understand the fundamentals, we
must then speak of what we perceive he most needs,
either explaining farther some doctrine, or some duty,
or showing him the necessity of something which he
neglects ; if he still understands not, we must go over
it again till he does.
Next, inquire into his state, whether convinced or
unconvinced, converted or unconverted, telling him,
if need be, what conversion is ; and then renew and
enforce the inquiry.
If unconverted, we must labour with all our power
to bring his heart to a sense of his condition ; setting
this home with a more earnest voice than we spoke
before. We must get to the heart, or we do nothing ;
concluding all with a strong exhortation, which should
enforce the duty of the heart, in order to receive
Christ ; the avoiding former sins ; and constantly
using the means of grace ; and be sure, if possible, to
get their promise to forsake sin, to change their com-
pany, and to wait upon God in his house. Let this be
done solemnly, reminding them of the presence of God,
who hears their promises, and expects the performance.
Before we leave them, engage the head of each
family to call all under his care together, every Sunday
before they go to bed, and hear what they can repeat ;
and so continue till they have learned the Instructions
for Children perfectly ; and afterwards let him take
care that they do not forget what they have learned.
If we do this earnestly, we shall soon find what a
work we have undertaken, in engaging to be Travelling
XVIII. ON INSTRUCTING THE CHILDREN.
WHERE there are ten children in a Society, we must
meet them at least an hour every week ; talk with
them whenever we see any of them at home ; pray in
earnest for them ; diligently instruct and vehemently
exhort all parents at their own houses. Some will
say, " I have no gift for this." Gift or no gift, you
are to do this, or else you are not called to be a Method-
ist Preacher. Do it as you can, till you can do it as
you would. Pray earnestly for the gift, and use every
help God hath put into your way, in order to attain it.
Preach expressly on the education of children when
you make the Collection for Kingswood School.
Q. 22. We have been frequently reproached with
the dress of our Preachers' children. How ought they
to dress ?
A. Exactly according to the rules of the bands ; and
it would be well if parents in general would observe
XIX. ON CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD, BRIBERY,
Q. 23. HAVE we not made too great advances
towards conformity to the world ?
A. We have. In order to prevent this, those school-
masters and school-mistresses who receive dancing-
masters into their schools, and those parents who
employ dancing-masters for their children, shall be 110
longer members of our Society.
Q. 24. Do not Sabbath-breaking, dram-drinking,
evil-speaking, unprofitable conversation, lightness, ex-
pensiveness or gaiety of apparel, and contracting debts,
without due care to discharge them, still prevail in
several places ? How may these evils be remedied ?
A. Let us solemnly and frequently warn the people
against these evils. Read in every Society the sermon
on evil-speaking. Let the Leaders closely examine,
and exhort every person to put away the accursed
thing. Let the Preachers warn every Society, that
those who are guilty cannot remain with us. Extirpate
smuggling, buying or selling uncustomed goods, out
of every Society. Let none remain with us who will
not totally abstain from every kind and degree of it.
Speak tenderly, but earnestly and frequently, of it in
every Society near the coasts ; and diligently disperse
among them " The Word to a Smuggler." Extirpate
bribery ; the receiving anything, directly or indirectly,
for voting in any election. Show no respect of persons
herein, but expel all that touch the accursed thing.
Largely show in public the wickedness of thus selling
our country ; and everywhere disperse " The Word to
Q. 25. Several members of our Societies who make
conscience of Sabbath-breaking have been much dis-
tressed, barbers in particular. What can be done to
relieve them ?
A. Let no member of our Society employ any barber
on Sunday. Let all our people, who possibly can,
employ only those barbers who conscientiously abstain
Let none of our people make any wake or feast,
neither go to any, on the Lord's day, but bear a public
testimony against them.
A Preacher ought not to wear powder in his hair, or
No person ought to continue a member of our
Society who learns the military exercise, as a volunteer,
on the Lord's day ; nor any one who, after having
been warned of the evil, will attend in order to see
them exercise on that day.
XX. ON MARRYING WITH UNBELIEVERS.
Q. 26. SOME of our members have married with
unbelievers, yea, with unawakened persons : this has
had fatal effects. They had either a cross for life, or
turned back to perdition. What can be done to put a
stop to this?
A. Let every Preacher enforce the Apostle's caution,
" Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers." Let him
openly declare, that whosoever does this will be ex-
pelled the Society. When any such are expelled, let a
suitable exhortation be subjoined. And let all be ex-
horted to take no step in so weighty a matter, without
advising with the most serious of their Christian friends.
Q. 27. Ought a woman to marry without the con-
sent of her parents ?
A. In general she ought not. Yet there may be an
exception. For if a woman be under a necessity to
marry, and if her parents absolutely refuse to let her
marry any Christian, then she may, nay, she ought to
marry without their consent. Yet even then a Methodist
Preacher ought not to marry her.*
XXI. ON BANKRUPTCIES; STRANGERS STAYING
AT THE SOCIETY-MEETINGS, LOVEFEASTS ;
FUNERAL, SERMONS; AND TALKING IN OUR
Q. 28. WHAT shall we do to prevent scandal, when
any of our members become bankrupt ?
* For further regulations on the marriage of Preachers, see
Minutes of Conference, Vol. V., p. 523. EDIT.
A. Let the Superintendent^talk with him at large.
And if he has not kept fair accounts, or has been con-
cerned in the base practice of raising money by coining
notes, (commonly called the bill-trade,) let. him be
Q. 29. How often shall we permit strangers to be
present at the meeting of the Society ?
A. At every other meeting of the Society, let no
stranger be admitted. At other times they may ; but
the same person not above three times. In order to
this, see that all in every place show their tickets before
they come in. If the Stewards and Leaders are not
exact, employ others that have more resolution. And
take care that no person attend a lovefeast without a
note from the Preacher.
Let no lovefeast be appointed but by the consent
of the Superintendent ; nor any funeral sermon be
preached without his consent, and for those only who
have died happy in the Lord. *
Q. 30. How shall we prevent persons talking in our
chapels, before and after service is over ?
A, Let all the Preachers join as one man, and
seriously and solemnly warn the people against this
XXII. ON STRANGERS BEING ENTERTAINED AT THE
PREACHERS' HOUSES ; AND ON CLEANLINESS.
LET none of our friends who travel on business
expect to be entertained at the Preachers' houses ;
neither let the people crowd into the Preachers'
houses : let no one think that he has a right to go
there, unless he has some particular business.
The Preachers' houses ought to be kept clean and
decent. A Preacher's wife ought to be a pattern of
cleanliness in her person, clothes, and habitation. And
she should also be a pattern of industry, always at
work for herself, her husband, or children.
XXIII. IN WHAT CASES WE ALLOW SERVICE IN
Q. 31. IN what cases do we allow service in what
are commonly called church-hours ?
A. When the Minister is a notoriously wicked man ;
when he preaches Arian, or any equally pernicious,
doctrine ; when there are not churches in the town
sufficient to contain the people ; and when there is no
church within two or three miles. And it is expected
that every one who preaches in church-hours will
either read Mr. Wesley's Abridgment of the Common
Prayer, or else the Lessons for the day.
XXIV. HOW TO PREVENT NERVOUS DISORDERS.
Q. 32. WHAT directions shall be given to prevent
the contracting nervous disorders ?
A. Take as little meat, drink, and sleep, as nature
will require. Drink no dram on any consideration.
Eat very light, if any, supper. Never go out of the
house to supper at any time. Be always at home
before nine o'clock, if possible. And use full as much
exercise daily as we did before we were Preachers.
XXV. THE ORDER OF DISTRICTS; AND WHAT
BUSINESS IS TO BE DONE THERE.
Q. 33. WHAT regulations are necessary for the
preservation of our whole economy ?
A. Let the three kingdoms be divided into Districts
in the following order : *
1. London, Colchester, Rochester, Canterbury, Rye,
* The number of Districts has since been increased, owing to
the enlargement of the work. At present there are thirty-two
in England and Scotland, and eleven in Ireland. EDIT.
2. Northampton, Brackley, Bedford, Oxford,
Higham-Ferrars, St. Ives (Hunts).
3. Norwich, Yarmouth, Dies, Thetford, Lyim, Wal-
4. Bristol, Taunton, Banwell, Bath, Stroud, Glou-
5. Salisbury, Portsmouth, Newbury, Poole, Brad-
ford, (Wilts,) Shepton-Mallet.
6. Isle of Jersey, Isle of Guernsey, Alderney, and
7. Plymouth-Dock, Collumpton, Launceston.
8. Redruth, St. Austle, Penzance.
9. Swansea, Cardiff, Brecon, Haverfordwest.
10. Birmingham, Worcester, Stourport, Dudley,
1 1 . Chester, Macclesfield, Burslem, Northwich,
1 2. Manchester, Stockport, Bolton, Liverpool, Roch-
dale, Oldham, Blackburn, Wigan.
13. Halifax, Colne, Keighley, Bradford, Hudders-
14. Nottingham, Newark, Leicester, Hinkley, Ashby-
de-la-Zouch, Burton, Derby, Castle-Donnington.
15. Leeds, Wakefield, Birstal, Dewsbury, Rotherham,
Otley, Sheffield, Pontefract, Doncaster.
16. Grimsby, Horn castle, Ep worth, Spalding, Bar-
1 7. Whitehaven, Isle of Man.
18. York, Hull, Pocklington, Bridlington, Scar-
19. Whitby, Ripon, Stockton, Barnard-Castle,
20. Newcastle, Sunderland, Hexham, Alnwick.
21. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries.
22. Aberdeen, Dundee, Brechin, Inverness.
23. Dublin, Wicklow, Carlow, Longford.
24. Cork, Bandon, Limerick, Waterford.
25. Athlone, Birr, Castlebar, Sligo.
26. Clones, Cavan, Ballyconnell, Enniskillin, Brook-
27. Londonderry, Colerain, Lisleen, Ballyshannon,
The names of all the Preachers in each District shall
be read over by the Secretary, and a Chairman shall
be chosen out of them by ballot of the Conference.
The Chairman, so chosen, shall have authority to call
a Meeting of all the Preachers in full connexion in
that District, on any application of the Preachers or
people, which appears to him to require it. But he
must never individually interfere with any other Circuit
but his own.
Whenever the Chairman has received any complaint
against a Preacher, he shall send an exact account
of the complaint in writing to the person accused, with
the name of the accuser or accusers, before he calls a
Meeting of the District to examine into the charge.
If it appear on just grounds to any Superintendent,
that the Chairman of the District has been guilty of
any crime, or that he has neglected to call the District,
when there were sufficient reasons for calling it, such
Superintendent shall have authority, in that case, to
call a Meeting of the District, and to fix the time and
place of meeting. The District thus assembled shall
have power, if they judge necessary, to try the Chair-
man ; and, if found guilty, to suspend him from being
a Travelling Preacher till the next Conference, or to
remove him from the office of a Superintendent, or to
depose him from the chair, and to elect another in his
place. Minutes shall be taken of their proceedings,
which shall be laid before the next Conference.
If a Preacher be accused of immorality, the Preacher
accused and his accuser shall respectively choose two
Preachers of their District ; and the Chairman of the
District shall, with the four Preachers, chosen as above,
try the accused Preacher ; and they shall have autho-
rity, if he be found guilty, to suspend him till the next
Conference, if they judge it expedient. But provided
they cannot settle the business to the satisfaction
of the accused Preacher, then it shall be referred to the
If there be a difference between two Preachers
in a District, the respective parties shall choose two
Preachers ; and the Chairman of the District, with the
four Preachers so chosen, shall be final arbiters, to de-
termine the matter in dispute. In both cases the
Chairman shall have a casting voice, iu case. of an
If there be any accusation against a Preacher, or
any difficult affair to settle, not only the Circuit or
Town Steward, but any Leader, or even member of the
Society, shall be admitted as an evidence into a District-
Meeting ; provided the matter has been first heard at
the Quarterly Meeting.
The Chairman of each District, in conjunction with
his brethren of that District, shall be responsible to the
Conference for the execution of our laws, as far as his
District is concerned.
The Chairman, in all cases which, in his judgment,
cannot be settled in the ordinary District-Meetings,
shall have authority to summons three of the nearest
Superintendents to be incorporated with the District
Committee, who shall have equal authority to vote, and
settle everything till the Conference.
The Conference recommends it to the Superintend-
ents of the Circuits to invite, on all important occa-
sions, the Chairman of their respective District to be
present at their Quarterly Meetings.
In order to render our Districts more effective, the
President of the Conference shall have power, when
applied to by the Superintendent, to supply any Circuit
with Preachers, if any should die or desist from travel-
ling ; and to sanction any change of Preachers which
it may be necessary to make in the intervals of Con-
ference ; and to assist at any District-Meeting, if ap-
plied to for that purpose, by the Chairman of the Dis-
trict, or by a majority of the Superintendents in such
District. And he shall have a right (if written to by
any who are concerned) to visit any Circuit, and to
inquire into their affairs with respect to Methodism,
and, in union with the District Committee, redress any
All deficiencies in the quarterage of Preachers, their
wives, and their children, with all demands concerning
rents, furniture, &c., shall be taken an account of, as
far as possible, at the Quarterly Meeting. The account
shall be sent (signed by the Circuit Steward) to the
District-Meeting, and from thence to the Conference.
As the Leaders' Meeting is the proper Meeting for
the Society, and the Quarterly Meeting for the Circuit,
we think that other formal Meetings in general would
be contrary to the Methodist economy, and very pre-
judicial in their consequences. But, in order to be as
tender as possible, consistently with what we believe to
be essential to the welfare of our Societies, we allow
that other formal Meetings may be held, if they first
receive the approbation of the Superintendent, arid the
Leaders' or Quarterly Meetings ; provided also that the
Superintendent, if he please, be present at every such
If the Conference shall see it necessary to make any
new rule for the Societies at large, and such rule should
be objected to at the first Quarterly Meeting in any
given Circuit ; and if the major part of that Meeting,
in conjunction with the Preachers, be of opinion that
the enforcing that rule in such a Circuit will be inju-
rious to the prosperity of that Circuit ; it shall not be
enforced in opposition to the judgment of the majority
of such Quarterly Meeting before the second Confer-
ence. But, if the rule be confirmed by the second
Conference, it shall be binding to the whole Connex-
ion. Nevertheless, the Quarterly Meetings rejecting a
new rule shall not, by publications, public meetings, or
otherwise, make that rule a cause of contention, but
shall strive, by every means, to preserve the peace
of the Connexion.
All the matters relating to the building of preaching-
houses and dwelling-houses shall be determined in the
District-Meetings. All matters relating to the paymeni
of the debts of houses, collections for houses, and
everything that appertains to preaching-houses and
dwelling-houses, shall be considered and settled in the
And, as the Districts always meet a little before the
Conference, they shall then choose a Representative to
attend the Committee for stationing the Preachers ;
and shall also determine -what Preachers in that District
shall attend the Conference.
But nothing in any District-Meeting shall be done
contrary to any rule of Conference.
XXVI. THE PLAN OF GENERAL PACIFICATION.
I. CONCERNING the Lord's supper, baptism, &c.
1. The sacrament of the Lord's supper shall not be
administered in any chapel, except a majority of the
Trustees of that chapel on the one hand, and the
majority of the Stewards and Leaders belonging to that
chapel (as the best qualified to give the sense of the
people) on the other hand, allow of it. Nevertheless,
in all cases, the consent of the Conference shall be first
obtained, before the Lord's supper be administered.
2. Wherever there is a Society but no chapel, if the
majority of the Stewards and Leaders of that Society
testify, that it is the wish of the people that the Lord's
supper should be administered to them, their desire
shall be granted, provided that the consent of the
Conference be first obtained.
3. Provided, nevertheless, that in Mount-Pleasant
chapel, at Liverpool, and in all other chapels where
the Lord's supper has been already peaceably adminis-
tered, the administration of it shall be continued in
4. The administration of baptism, the burial of the
dead, and service in church-hours, shall be determined
according to the regulations above-mentioned.
5. Whenever the Lord's supper shall be adminis-
tered according to the above-mentioned regulations, it
shall always be continued, except the Conference order
C. The Lord's supper shall be administered by those
only who are authorized by the Conference ; and at
such times, and in such manner only, as the Confer-
ence shall appoint.
7. The administration of baptism and the Lord's
supper, according to the above regulations, is intended
only for the members of our own Society.
8. We agree that the Lord's supper be administered
among us on Sunday evenings only ; except where the
majority of the Stewards and Leaders desire it in
church-hours ; or where it has already been adminis-
tered in these hours. Nevertheless, it shall never be
administered on those Sundays on which it is adminis-
tered in the parish church.
9. The Lord's supper shall always be administered
in England according to the form of the established
Church ; but the person who administers shall have
liberty to give out hymns, to use exhortation, and
10. Wherever divine service is performed in Eng-
land on the Lord's day in church-hours, the officiating
Preacher shall read either the service of the Church,
our venerable Father's Abridgment, or, at least, the
Lessons appointed by the calendar. But we recom-
mend either the full Service or the Abridgment.
11. Concerning discipline.
1. The appointment of the Preachers shall remain
solely with the Conference ; and no Trustee, or num-
ber of Trustees, shall expel or exclude from their
chapel or chapels any Preacher so appointed.
2. Nevertheless, if the majority of the Trustees, or
the majority of the Stewards and Leaders, of any
Society believe that any Preacher appointed for their
Circuit is immoral, erroneous in doctrine, deficient in
abilities, or that he has broken any of the rules above-
mentioned, they shall have authority to summon the
Preachers of the District, and all the Trustees, Stew-
ards, and Leaders of that Circuit, to meet in their
chapel on a day and hour appointed (sufficient time
being given). The Chairman of the District shall
te President of the assembly ; and every Preacher,
Trustee, Steward, and Leader, shall have a single vote,
the Chairman possessing the casting voice. And if the
majority of the Meeting judge, that the accused
Preacher is immoral, erroneous in doctrine, deficient
in abilities, or has broken any of the rules above-
mentioned, he shall be considered as removed from
that Circuit : and the District Committee shall, as
soon as possible, appoint another Preacher for that
Circuit, instead of the Preacher so removed ; and shall
determine among themselves how the removed Preacher
shall be disposed of till the Conference ; and shall
have authority to suspend the said Preacher from all
public duties till the Conference, if they think proper.
The District Committee shall also supply, as well as
possible, the place of the removed Preacher, till ano-
ther Preacher be appointed. And the Preacher thus
appointed, and all other Preachers, shall be subject to
the above mode of trial. And if the District Com-
mittee do not appoint a Preacher for that Circuit,
instead of the removed Preacher, within a month after
the aforesaid removal, or do not fill up the place of the
removed Preacher till another Preacher be appointed,
the majority of the said Trustees, Stewards, and Lead-
ers, being again regularly summoned, shall appoint a
Preacher for the said Circuit, provided he be a member
of the Methodist Connexion, till the next Conference.
3. If any Preacher refuse to submit to the above
mode of trial, in any of the cases mentioned above, he
shall be considered as suspended till the next Confer-
ence. And if any Trustees expel from any chapel a
Preacher by their own separate authority, the Preach-
ers appointed for that Circuit shall not preach in that
chapel till the next Conference, or till a trial takes
place according to the mode mentioned above.
4. If any Trustees expel or exclude a Preacher by
their own separate authority, from any chapel, in any
Circuit, the Chairman of the District shall summons
the members of the District Committee, the Trustees
of that Circuit who have not offended, and the Stew-
ards and Leaders of the Circuit ; and the members
of such assembly shall examine into the evidence on
both sides ; and if the majority of them determine,
that the state of the Society in which the exclusion
took place requires that a new chapel should be built
before the meeting of the next Conference, every pro-
per step shall be immediately taken for erecting such
chapel. And no step shall, on any account, be taken
to erect a chapel for such purpose before the next
Conference, till such a Meeting be summoned, and
such determination be made.
5. No Preacher shall be suspended or removed from
his Circuit by any District Committee, except he have
the privilege of the trial before-mentioned.
6. The hundred Preachers mentioned in the enrolled
Deed, and their successors, are the only legal persons
who constitute the Conference. And we think the
junior brethren have no reason to object to this
proposition, as they are regularly elected according to
7. Inasmuch as in drawing up the preceding regu-
lations, we have laboured to restore and preserve the
peace and unity of the Society, and, in order thereto,
have endeavoured to keep the Preachers out of all
disputes on the subjects therein specified, be it
understood, that any Preacher who shall disturb the
peace of the Society by speaking for or against the
introduction of the Lord's supper in our Societies, or
concerning the Old or the New Plan, so called, shall be
subject to the trial and penalties before-mentioned.
8. And in order that the utmost impartiality be mani-
fested in these regulations for the peace of the whole
body, we also resolve, That if any Local Preacher,
Trustee, Steward, or Leader shall disturb the peace
of the Society, by speaking for or against the intro-
duction of the Lord's supper, or concerning the Old
or the New Plan, (so called,) the Superintendent
of the Circuit, or the majority of the Trustees, Stew-
ards, and Leaders of the Society so disturbed, shall
have authority to summon a meeting of the Travelling
Preachers of the Circuit, and the Trustees, Stewards,
and Leaders of that Society. Evidence shall be exa-
mined on both sides ; and if the charge be proved,
the Superintendent Preacher shall expel from the
Society the person so offending.
1. THE Conference by no means wishes to divide
any Society, by the introduction of the Lord's supper ;
and therefore except that a majority of the Stewards
and Leaders, who desire the Lord's supper among
themselves, testify in writing to the Conference, that
they are persuaded that no separation will be made
thereby, they will not allow it.
2. The sacrament shall not be administered to a
Society in any private house, within two miles of the
Methodist chapel in which it is regularly administered.
3. We all agree that the pulpit shall not be a
vehicle of abuse.
4. It has been our general custom, never to appoint
or remove a Steward or Leader, without first consult-
ing the Stewards and Leaders of that Society ; and we
are resolved to walk by the same rule.
5. To prevent, as much as possible, the progress
of strife and debate, and consequent divisions in our
Connexion, no pamphlet or printed letter shall be cir-
culated among us without the author's name, and the
postage or carriage paid.
6. Nothing contained in these Rules shall be con-
strued to violate the rights of the Trustees, as expressed
in their respective deeds.
XXVII. THE AGREEMENT WITH THE TRUSTEKS
OF BRISTOL, IN 1/94.
To the Members of the Methodist Societies.
BRISTOL, August 8th, 1794.
WE have again taken into our mature consideration
the state of our Societies in this kingdom, respecting
the administration of the sacrament, and some other
particulars which have engaged the attention of many
of our people ; and for the sake of peace and love
have come to the following Resolutions :
I. Preaching in church-hours shall not be permit-
ted, except for special reasons, and where it will not
cause a division, according to the Plan of Pacification.
II. As the Lord's supper has not been administered,
except where the Society has been unanimous for it,
and would not have been contented without it ; it is
now agreed, that it shall not be administered in future
where the union and concord of the Society can be
preserved without it, according to the Plan of Pacifi-
III. The Preachers will not perform the office of
baptism except for the desirable ends of love and con-
cord ; though baptism, and the burial of the dead,
were performed by many of the Preachers long before
the death of Mr. Wesley, and with his consent.
IV. It is agreed, that the management of the tem-
poral and spiritual concerns of the Society shall be
separated, as far as the purposes of peace and harmony
can be answered thereby, or as they have ever been
separated in times of the greatest peace and harmony ;
viz., the temporal concerns shall be managed by the
Stewards chosen for that purpose, who shall keep
books, wherein all moneys collected, received, or dis-
bursed, on account of their respective Societies, shall
be entered. 2. The spiritual concerns shall be managed
by the Preachers ; who have ever appointed Leaders,
chosen Stewards, and admitted members into, and
expelled them from, the Society, consulting their bre-
thren the Leaders find Stewards, according to the
Rules before mentioned. The Preachers also, as
hitherto, are to appoint love-feasts and watch-nights,
and to vary the time and places of preaching, class-
V. That the Trustees may have the fullest assurance
that the Conference love them, and have not the
shadow of a desire to oppress them, any more than to
reject any proposals which they conceive calculated to
restore and preserve peace and harmony, the following
articles are added :
VI. The Trustees, in conjunction with the Super-
intendent, who shall have one vote only, shall choose
their own Steward ; who shall receive and disburse all
seat-rents, and such collections as shall be made, for
the purpose of paying interest of money due upon the
premises, or for reducing the principal of all such
moneys, so received and disbursed. The aforesaid
Steward shall keep proper accounts in books provided
for that purpose ; which books shall be open for the
inspection of the Superintendent, and audited in his
presence once every year ; or oftener, if convenient.
Provided always, that when the necessities of the work
of God require it, the Trustees shall allow quarterly,
what may appear requisite for carrying on the work,
so that it be not cramped : Provided, that if the seat-
rents and collections fall short of what will be suffi-
cient to discharge the rents, interest of money, and
other necessary expenses of the chapels, the deficiency
shall be made good out of some other revenue of the
Society ; and that books shall be provided, wherein
shall be inserted all the accounts, both of the Trustees
and the Stewards of the respective Societies, which
shall be open for the inspection of the Trustees and
others, and that the said accounts shall be annually
audited in the presence of the Trustees : Provided also,
that nothing in these Resolutions shall be construed to
extend to alter any of the powers contained in the
VII. No Trustee (however accused, or defective in
conforming to the established rules of the Society)
shall be removed from the Society, unless his crime, or
breach of the rules of the Society, be proved in the
presence of the Trustees and Leaders.
Signed, in behalf of the Conference,
THOMAS HANBY, President.
THOMAS COKE, Secretary.
xxvin. MR. WESLEY'S LETTER TO THE CONFER-
ENCE IN 1791 ; AND THEIR DETERMINATION IN
CONSEQUENCE OF IT.
To THE CONFERENCE.
CHESTER, April 7th, 1/85.
MY DEAR BRETHREN,
SOME of our Travelling Preachers have expressed a
fear, that after my decease you would exclude them,
either from preaching in connexion with you, or from
some other privileges which they now enjoy. I know
no other way to prevent any such inconvenience, than
to leave these my last words with you.
I beseech you by the mercies of God, that you never
avail yourselves of the Deed of Declaration, to assume
any superiority over your brethren ; but let all things
go on among those Itinerants who choose to remain
together, exactly in the same manner as when I was
with you, so far as circumstances will admit.
In particular, T beseech you, if ever you loved me,
and if you now love God and your brethren, to have
no respect of persons in stationing the Preachers, in
choosing children for Kingswood-school, in disposing
of the Yearly Collection and the Preachers' Fund, or
any other public money. But do all things with a
single eye, as I have done from the beginning. Go on
thus doing all things without prejudice or partiality,
and God will be with you even to the end.
N.B. The Conference have unanimously resolved,
That all the Preachers who are in full connexion with
them shall enjoy every privilege that the members of the
Conference enjoy, agreeable to the above-written letter
of our venerable deceased father in the Gospel, except
in voting for the President and Secretary.
XXIX. CERTAIN RULES AGREKD TO BY THE CON-
FERENCE AT DIFFERENT TIMES.
1. No ordination shall take place in our Connexion,
without the consent of the Conference ; nor shall
gowns or bands be used among us ; or the title of
reverend* be used at all. And if any brother shall
break the above-mentioned rule, he thereby excludes
himself from the Connexion.
2. No Preacher shall receive anything from the Cir-
cuit on account of his children who receive what is
allowed from Kingswood-school, nor after they have
arrived at the age of seventeen years.f
3. None of us shall, either in writing or conversa-
tion, speak lightly or irreverently of the Government
under which we live. The oracles of God command us
to be subject to the higher powers ; and that " honour
the King" is there connected with the " fear of God."
4. No person among us shall call another heretic,
bigot, or by any other disrespectful name, on any
account, for a difference in sentiment.
5. No Preacher shall leave his Circuit, on any con-
sideration, between the Midsummer and the Michael-
6. A General Fast shall be held in all our Societies,
the first Friday after New-year's-day, after Lady-day,
after Midsummer-day, and after Michaelmas-day.
7. Every Preacher shall be considered as a Super-
numerary for four years after he has desisted from tra-
velling, and shall afterwards be deemed Superannuated.
* This rule has since been rescinded. EDIT.
t By a subsequent regulation every Preacher is authorized,
with certain exceptions, to receive the allowance for his children
till they are twenty years of age. See Minutes, Vol. IV., p. 39.
8. Every Superintendent shall be at liberty to attend
the Conference or not : * but, in case of absence, he
shall send all his papers that are necessary, by the
Representative of his District.
9. No division shall be made of any Circuit, where
it does not appear to the Quarterly Meeting, the
District-Meeting, the Committee of Representatives,
and the Conference, that there is such an enlargement
of the work as requires it.
10. Every Preacher, before he is admitted into full
connexion, shall write an account of his life, and give
it to Mr. Story.
11. All letters not directed to, or belonging to, the
President, or the Committee of Representatives, are to
be paid for by the Circuits respectively from which the
Preachers come. And all the horses are to be paid for
in the same way.
12. No Preacher who has been suspended or expel-
led shall, on any account, be employed as a Local
Preacher, without the authority of the Conference.
13. No Circuit shall have more Preachers than it
can support, unless in case of some extraordinary bur-
den, in respect to wives and children ; the Circuits in
Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, being excepted.
14. \Ve strongly recommend the religious observ-
ance of the Lord's day ; and desire our Superintend-
ents to exclude from the Society all who buy or sell on
that sacred day, except in case of medicine for the
sick, or for supplying necessaries for funerals.
15. Any Preacher brought out in the course of the
year, if he have travelled nine months before the next
Conference, shall be considered as if he had travelled
the whole year.f
16. The Lord's supper shall be administered by the
* This rule has since been modified. See Minutes, Vol. III.,
p. 92 ; Vol. IV., p. 446. EDIT.
t By a subsequent regulation it is determined that if a
Preacher who is on the List of Reserve be appointed to a Circuit
before Christmas, he shall be considered at the ensuing Confer-
ence as having travelled one year. EDIT.
Superintendent only, or such of his Helpers as are in
full connexion, as he shall appoint ; provided that no
Preacher be required to give it against his own inclina-
tion ; and should it be granted to any place where the
Preachers on the Circuit are all unwilling to give it, the
Superintendent shall in that case invite a neighbouring
Preacher, who is properly qualified, to administer it.
17. As several inconveniences have arisen respect-
ing the change of Stewards ; to remedy this, let it be
observed, that the office of a Steward ceases at the end
of the year : and every Superintendent is required, at
the end of the year, to change one Steward at least ;
so that no Steward may be in office above two years
together, except in some extraordinary cases.
18. No Preacher shall use tobacco for smoking,
chewing, or snuff, unless it be prescribed by a Physi-
cian. And our people are desired not to provide pipes
or tobacco for any of our Preachers.
19. It is desired that the money collected for the
Yearly Collection, Kingswood School, and the Preach-
ers' Fund, be entered in the general Steward's books,
in the respective Circuits.
20. It is desired, that the Representatives for
stationing the Preachers may always meet on the
Wednesday * before the Conference.
21. That we may be favoured with the direction and
blessing of God on our important work at the Confer-
ence, it is agreed, that, on the morning of the first day
of the Conference, the President and Secretary shall
be chosen, and the rest of the day be dedicated to
fasting and prayer. And it is desired, that our Societies
may join us in the solemn duties of the day.
22. Whoever shall leave the Conference before the
business is finished, and the journals signed, must not
complain on account of what may be done after their
23. As the Preachers are eminently one body, no-
* The Representatives of Districts, who form the Stationing
Committee, now meet on Friday morning, twelve days before
the assembly of Conference. EDIT.
thing should be done by any individual which would
be prejudicial to the whole, or to any part thereof.
Therefore, no Preacher shall publish anything, but
what is given to the Conference, and printed at our
own press ; * the Book-Committee to determine what
is proper to be printed ; that, as a reward for his
labour, whatever shall be approved of by the said Com-
mittee, and printed, the author shall have an hundred,
out of every thousand of the books, whether large or
small ; and, if published in the Magazine, he shall
have a reasonable allowance, the Conference being
judges. But, should a manuscript be rejected by the
Book-Committee, a Preacher may print it ; provided
he do not sell it at our chapels, nor advertise it from
our pulpits. The design of this rule is to prevent any
Preacher in our Connexion from selling at the doors
of our chapels, or offering to sell, any books among
our people, but those which belong to the Conference,
and come from our Book-Room.
N.B. If any Preacher be attacked by any of our
enemies, and his character misrepresented, his printing
a reply in his own defence shall not be deemed a
breach of the above rule.
24. The Districts shall determine when and where
any chapel shall be built. But we advise that no one
shall be built till absolutely necessary, and till two-
thirds of the whole expense be subscribed.
25. Several of the Preachers have found their own
horses from the beginning. But we now recommend
it to every Circuit to find horses for the use of the
Preachers. But, in those Circuits which wish to be
upon the same plan as formerly, it is desired, that no
Preacher may collect money for buying horses ; but
that whatever may be judged needful of this kind may
be done by the Steward of the Circuit.
26. All apothecaries' bills shall be discharged in the
Circuits. And if the Stewards cannot pay the quarter-
age of the Preachers, their wives, and children, they
must have fewer Preachers the next year.
* Thia rule has been rescinded. EDIT.
27. Let no District-Meeting, no Preacher, or num-
ber of Preachers, or people whatsoever, on any consi-
deration, involve the Conference in any lawsuit ; nor
have any demand on the Conference for the expenses,
or any part of the expenses, of any lawsuit ; more espe-
cially concerning chapels or preaching-houses, without
the consent of the Conference previously obtained.
28. We have been disappointed by married Preachers
coming out to travel, in expectation of being them-
selves able to maintain their wives, independently
of the Conference, who very soon became entirely de-
pendent. How shall this be prevented ? Let no
Preacher be received on this plan, unless he can bring
in writing such an account of his income, signed by
the Superintendent, as shall satisfy the Conference.
And if any person shall promise to maintain a Preach-
er's wife or children, he shall give a bond to the Con-
ference for the sum he intends to allow.
29. Let every Preacher be merciful to his beast ;
not only ride moderately, but see that his horse is
taken proper care of.
30. Let every Superintendent take care to provide
every Preacher's wife who may be stationed along with
him, a lodging, coals, and caudles, or see that she is
allowed fifteen pounds a year.
31. Let not all the Preachers in any Circuit come to
the Conference. And let those who do come set out
as late and return as soon as possible.
32. Prayer-meetings have been found exceedingly
useful ; therefore let us appoint them wherever we can
make it convenient.
XXX. THE RULES OF THE PREACHERS' FUND.*
Q. 36. How shall we raise a Fund for the support
of the superannuated Preachers, their widows, and
* These rules have been superseded by "The Methodist
Preachers' Annuitant Society," and by the formation of the
" Auxiliary Fund." EDIT.
A. We will ask the assistance of our respectable
friends, once a year : and, this being done, the
Preachers themselves shall subscribe in the following
1 . Every Preacher who shall be admitted upon trial
shall, at the next and every subsequent Conference,
till his admission into full connexion, contribute one
2. Every Preacher, when he is received into full
connexion, shall contribute two guineas ; and every
succeeding year one guinea.
3. No Travelling Preacher shall be entitled to any
benefit from this Fund till he has paid, or caused to
be paid, ten guineas towards the support of it ; except
as hereafter provided. But any Preacher in full con-
nexion shall be entitled to the privileges of the Fund
on paying ten guineas.
4. All the money received towards the support of
this Fund shall be lodged in the hands of four Stew-
ards, chosen by the Conference. These Stewards
shall give sufficient security to the Committee chosen
by the Conference, who shall see the rules executed.
And this Committee shall keep exact accounts of all
moneys received and paid, and shall lay them before
the Conference every year.
5. Every Preacher whom the Conference judges to
be worn out, and who has not departed from the work,
shall receive twelve pounds a year for life. And every
Preacher who has laboured longer than twelve years,
without departing from the work, and is judged by
the Conference to be worn out, shall receive one
pound annually for life, for every year he has travelled
above twelve, to the time he became superannuated.
But this allowance shall not preclude the Confer-
ence from extending mercy to any distressed brother,
his widow or children, whose case may be represented
to them. They shall consider his situation and cir-
cumstances, and add to his just demand what to them
rnay appear needful to support him comfortably.
It shall likewise be in the power of the Conference
to make suitable provision out of the Fund for the
children of deceased Preachers, and distressed widows,
on any occasion which they shall judge necessary.
6. Every widow of a Travelling Preacher shall re-
ceive twelve pounds a year. And if her deceased
husband travelled more than twelve years before he
was worn out, she shall be allowed one pound annually
for every year her husband travelled above twelve, till
the time he was superannuated.
N.B. If a widow marry, she shall have but half her
allowance during her second marriage. But if her
second husband die, she shall again receive the whole
as before, while she continues a widow.
7. If any Travelling Preacher be superannuated, or
become an invalid, before he has deposited ten guineas
in the Fund, he shall be allowed twelve pounds annu-
ally for life, on condition that he subscribe one guinea
annually, till the ten guineas be subscribed, or that he
make up the ten guineas sooner.
8. If any married Travelling Preacher die before he
has deposited ten guineas in the Fund, his widow shall
be allowed twelve pounds annually for life, on condi-
tion that she subscribe one guinea annually till the ten
guineas are subscribed, or that she make up the ten
9. . No Preacher shall have any right to this Fund,
till he be admitted into full connexion.
10. The widow of a Preacher that has never been
admitted into full connexion shall have no right to the
privileges of this Fund.
11. If any widow of a Preacher as aforesaid marry,
her annuity shall be at her own disposal, and be paid
to her quarterly, by the Superintendent of the Circuit
in which she resides, and no otherwise.
12. No person shall be entitled to any benefit from
this Fund who has voluntarily left the work, or who
sets up for himself independently of the Methodist
Conference and Connexion.
13. No Preacher who shall be excluded this Con-
nexion for any crime or misdemeanour shall have any
benefit from this Fund, except the money he may
have subscribed towards the support of it, which shall
be returned to him.
14. No Travelling Preacher who neglects to pay his
subscription for four years successively, except those
engaged in Foreign Missions, shall have any benefit
from this Fund. And every Travelling Preacher who
does not bring or send his subscription to the Confer-
ence every year shall be fined five shillings.
15. This Fund shall never be reduced to less than
one thousand pounds.
16'. If it shall happen at any future period that the
Fund cannot support the burden upon it, then, in such
a case, the Committee, with the advice of the Travel-
ling Preachers, shall advise the best method, and use
the most prudent means, to raise the Fund.
17. No part of this Fund shall be applied to any
other purposes than those directed by these rules ;
and all moneys that have been borrowed from it shall
be repaid with legal interest.
18. The Head-Master of Kingswood School, for the
time being, and the Book-Steward, for the time being,
subscribing as above to the Fund, shall have all the
privileges allowed by it.
The present Stewards of this Fund are, Alexander
Mather, John Pawson, Thomas Taylor, and William
The present Committee are, Robert Roberts, Thomas
Coke, John Allen, Richard Rodda, Samuel Bradburn,
James Rogers, Joseph Bradford, Benjamin Rhodes.
Q. How, or in what form, may a person leave a
legacy to the Preachers' Fund?
A. Let him leave it to any person or persons that
he can confide in, in trust for that purpose, without
mentioning the design in his will ; suppose to any
one or more of the present Stewards.
XXXI. AN ACCOUNT OF KINGSWOOD SCHOOL.
Q. 37. WHAT can be done for the support of
Kings wood School ?
A. Let a public collection be made in all the chapels
throughout the three kingdoms the Sunday before or
after Midsummer, and let the following account be
read : *
" The wisdom and love of God have now thrust out
a large number of labourers into his harvest ; men
who desire nothing on earth but to promote the glory
of God, by saving their own souls, and those that hear
them. And those to whom they minister spiritual
things are willing to minister to them of their carnal
things ; so that they have food to eat, raiment to put
on, and a place where to lay their head, and are con-
" A competent provision is likewise made for the
wives of married Preachers. These also lack nothing,
having a quarterly allowance over and above for their
little children ; so that neither they nor their husbands
need to be careful about many things, but may wait
upon the Lord without distraction.
" Yet one considerable difficulty lies on those who
have boys, when they grow too big to be under their
mother's direction. Having no father to govern and
instruct them, they are exposed to a thousand tempta-
tions. To remedy this, we have a school on purpose
for them, wherein they have all the instruction they
are capable of, together with all things necessary for
" In whatever view we look upon this, it is one of
the noblest charities that can be conceived. How
reasonable is the institution ! Is it fit that the child-
ren of those who give up themselves wholly to the
work of the Lord, and labour to save souls from death,
* This collection is now generally made in the month of
should want what is needful either for the soul or
body ? Ought not we to supply what the parent can-
not, because of his labours in the Gospel ? How
excellent are the effects of this institution ? The
parent, eased of his weight, can the more cheerfully
go on in his labour. And perhaps some of those
children may hereafter fill up the place of those that
shall rest from their labours.
" It is well known that the children want nothing ;
that they scarce know what sickness means ; that they
are well instructed in whatever they are capable
of learning ; that they are carefully and tenderly
governed ; and that constant care is taken that the
behaviour of all belonging to the house is such as
becometh the Gospel of Christ.
" But the expense of such an undertaking is very
large, so that necessity obliges us, once a year, to ask
the assistance of all those, in every place, who wish
well to the work of God, who long to see sinners con-
verted to God, and the kingdom of Christ set up in all
" All of you who are thus minded have an oppor-
tunity now of showing your love to the Gospel. Now
promote, as far as in you lies, one of the noblest chari-
ties in the world. Now forward, as you are able, one
of the most excellent designs that was ever set on foot
in this kingdom. Do what you can to comfort the
parents who give up their all for you, and to give their
children cause to bless you. You will be no poorer
for what you do on such an occasion. God is a good
paymaster. And you know, that in doing this you
lend unto the Lord : in due time he will pay you
It is now agreed, that the boys shall be received
into the school at the age of eight years, and that
they shall continue till they are fourteen ; that if any
Preacher can give a sufficient reason why his boy
should not go to the school, he shall be allowed twelve
pounds a year from the Kingswood Collection ; that
the daughters of Travelling Preachers, from the time
that they are nine years of age, shall receive from the
said Collection eight guineas a year, for four years.*
XXXII. AN ACCOUNT OF THE YEARLY COLLECTION.
Q. 37. How may we raise a General Fund for car-
rying on the work of God ?
A. By a yearly subscription, to be proposed by
every Superintendent, when he visits the classes at
Lady-day, to be received either then or at the visitation
To this end he may read and enlarge upon the
following hints in every Society :
" How shall we send a sufficient number of labour-
ers into those parts where they are most of ail wanted ?
suppose the north-west of Ireland, the north of Scot-
land, Wales, and many parts of England ? Many are
willing to hear, but are neither able nor willing to
bear the expense. Nor can it as yet be expected of
them : stay till the word of God hath touched their
hearts, and then they will endeavour to provide for
them who preach it. Does it not lie upon us, in the
mean time, to supply their lack of service ? to raise a
General Fund, out of which, from time to time, the
expense may be defrayed ? By this means, those who
willingly offer themselves may travel through every
part, and stay wherever there is a call, without being
burdensome to any. Thus may the Gospel, in the life
and power thereof, be spread from sea to sea. Which
of you will not rejoice to throw in your mite to pro-
mote this glorious work?
" Besides this, in carrying on so large a work
through the three kingdoms, there are calls for
money in various ways, and we must frequently be at
considerable expense, or the work must be at a full
stop. Many, too, are the occasional distresses of our
* The age at which the daughters of the Itinerant Preachers
now begin to receive the allowance for education is eight years.
Preachers, or their families, which require an imme-
diate supply ; otherwise their hands would hang down,
if they were not constrained to leave the work.
" Let every member of Society, once a year, set his
shoulder to the work ; contributing more or less, as
God hath prospered him, at the Lady-day visitation
of the classes. Let every one herein do as he is dis-
posed in his own mind, and according to the ability
which God giveth, and there will be no lack.
" Men and brethren, help ! Was there ever a call
like this since you first heard the Gospel sound ? Help
to relieve your companions in the kingdom of Jesus,
who are pressed above measure. ' Bear ye one ano-
ther's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.' Help
to send forth able, willing labourers into our Lord's
harvest ; so shall you be assistant in saving souls from
death, aad hiding a multitude of sins. Help to spread
the Gospel of your salvation into the remotest corners
of the kingdom, till the knowledge of our Lord shall
cover the land as the waters cover the sea ; so shall it
appear to ourselves, and all men, that we are indeed
one body, united by one Spirit : so shall the baptized
Heathens be yet again constrained to cry out, ' See
how these Christians love one another !'"
The money thus subscribed shall be brought to the
Conference by the Assistant Preacher.
XXXIII. HOW TO PRESERVE THE CHAPELS.
Q. 38. ARE all our chapels safe?
A. Not all ; for some of them are not settled upon
Trustees ; several of the Trustees for others are dead.
Q. 39. What then is to be done ?
A. Let the Trustees who have debts on any of the
chapels give a bond to settle them as soon as they can
Let the surviving Trustees choose others without
delay, and let them indorse their Deed thus :
" We, the remaining Trustees of the Methodist
chapel in M , do, according to the power vested
in us, by this Deed, choose A B C to be Trustees of the
said chapel, in the place of D E F, deceased. Witness
The Deed must have two new ten-shilling stamps on
it ; and for that purpose must be sent up to the Book-
Every Deed must be drawn on parchment with two
If it relate to a chapel out of London, it must be
acknowledged by the person or persons conveying the
premises to Trustees, (after the execution of it,) before
a Master-extraordinary in Chancery ; and it must be
enrolled in Chancery, within six lunar months after
the execution, or it is of no validity. It must there-
fore be sent to the Book-Steward, allowing him suffi-
cient time to get it enrolled.
Almost every eminent Attorney-at-law in the country
is a Master-extraordinary in Chancery.
Q. 40. In what manner may a chapel or preaching-
house be settled ? *
A. In the following manner :
This Indenture, made in the year of the
reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, of
Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender
of the Faith, and so forth ; and in the year of our
Lord one thousand seven hundred and Between
A B of D in the county of C on the one part, and
F G H I K, &c., on the other part, WITNESSETH,
That in consideration of the sum of five shillings of
lawful money of Great Britain, by the said F G H I K
to the said A B truly paid before the sealing and de-
livering hereof, the receipt whereof the said A B doth
hereby acknowledge, and for divers other considera-
tions him thereunto moving, the said A B' hath
granted, bargained, and sold, and by these presents
doth bargain and sell, unto the said F G H I K, &c.,
* This form of trust is now superseded by the " Model Deed,"
which has been adopted by the Conference, and i8 sold at the
Book-Room, 14, City -road, London. EDIT.
and their executors, administrators, and assigns, all that
lately erected house or tenement known by the name
of the Methodist chapel, situated in aforesaid, now
in the tenure or occupation of , together with all
the ways, drains, and privileges to the said premises
appertaining, and all the profits thereof, with all the
right, title, and interest in law and equity ; to have
and to hold the said chapel and other premises to the
said F G H I K, &c., and their assigns for ever :
Nevertheless, upon special trust and confidence, and to
the intent that they and the survivers of them, and
the Trustees for the time being, do and shall permit
from time to time, and at all times for ever, such per-
sons as shall be appointed at the yearly Conference
of the people called Methodists, held in London,
Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, or elsewhere, specified by
name in a Deed enrolled in Chancery, under the hand
and seal of the Rev. John Wesley, and bearing date
28th day of February, 1784, and no others, to have
and enjoy the said premises, in order that they may
therein preach and expound God's holy word, and per-
form all other acts of religious worship ; provided
that the persons so appointed preach no other doc-
trines than are contained in Mr. Wesley's Notes upon
the New Testament, and his four volumes of Sermons,
by him published ; provided also, that the same
Preacher shall not be sent to the said chapel for more
than two years successively, without the consent of the
said Trustees given in writing ; that the said Trustees
shall have full power to choose from among themselves
a Steward, or Treasurer, who shall receive all the seat-
rents, &c., which money so received shall be applied
towards paying the interest of all moneys due upon
the premises, for repairs of the said chapel, and toward
reducing the principal till the whole is paid ; that, in
case of necessity, the said Trustees shall have full
power to mortgage the premises, till the debt con-
tracted be fully discharged ; or, if the Methodist
Society in that place should be dissolved, or come to
nothing, or if a larger or more convenient chapel
should be wanting, then, in either of the afore-men-
tioned cases, the Trustees for the time being shall have
full power to sell the premises, and, in the latter case,
shall dispose of the purchase-money towards building
In witness hereof, the said A B hath hereunto set
his hand and seal, &c.
XXXIV. CERTAIN REGULATIONS MADE AT LEEDS,
To the Methodist Societies.
LEEDS, August 7, 1797.
WE think it our duty to inform you, by the earliest
opportunity, of the measures we have taken, in order
to satisfy those of our brethren who have been made
more or less uneasy by sundry publications circulated
through the Societies : and we trust, that on a serious
consideration of the regulations we have agreed to at
this Conference, you will see that the sacrifices in
respect to authority, which we have made on the part
of the whole body of Travelling Preachers, evidence our
willingness to meet our brethren iu everything which
is consistent with the existence of the Methodist dis-
cipline, and our readiness to be their servants for
I. In respect to finances, or money matters :
1. We have determined to publish annually a very
minute account of the disbursements or application
of the Yearly Collection ; and,
2. A full account of the affairs of Kingswood School.
3. That all bills for the support of Travelling
Preachers, and their families, in respect to deficiencies,
house-rent, fire, candles, sickness, travelling expenses,
and all other matters of a temporal kind for their sup-
port, for which the Circuits cannot provide, shall first
meet with the approbation of the Quarterly Meeting,
and be signed by the general Steward of the Circuit,
before they can be brought to the District Committee.
II. In respect to all other temporal matters :
1 . It has been determined that no Circuits shall be
divided till such division has been approved of by their
respective Quarterly Meetings, and signed by the
2. That no other temporal matter shall be transacted
by the District Committees, till the approbation of the
respective Quarterly Meetings be first given, signed by
the Circuit Stewards.
III. In respect to the receiving and excluding private
members of Society :
1. The Leaders' Meeting shall have a right to de-
clare any person on trial improper to be received into
the Society : and after such declaration the Superin-
tendent shall not admit such person into the Society.
2. No person shall be expelled from the Society for
immorality, till such immorality be proved at a Leaders'
IV. In respect to the appointment and removal
of Leaders, Stewards, and Local Preachers, and con-
cerning Meetings :
1. No person shall be appointed a Leader or
Steward, or be removed from his office, but in conjunc-
tion with the Leaders' Meeting ; the nomination to be
in the Superintendent, and the approbation or disap-
probation in the Leaders' Meeting.
2. The former Eule concerning Local Preachers is
confirmed ; namely, " That no person shall receive a
Plan as a Local Preacher without the approbation of a
Local Preachers' Meeting."
3. In compliance with a request made by the Com-
mittee of persons from various parts, namely, "That
the Conference be requested to re-consider and revise
those Rules which relate to the calling of Meetings,
and appointing Local Preachers, made last year," we
say, " No Local Preacher shall be permitted to preach
in any other Circuit than his own, without producing
a recommendation from the Superintendent of the Cir-
cult in which he lives ; nor suffer any invitation to he
admitted as a plea but from men in office, who act in
conjunction with the Superintendent of that Circuit
which he visits." The design of this Rule is to pre-
vent any, under the character of Local Preachers, from
burdening the people, either by collecting money, or
by living upon them ; and to prevent improper persons,
"who bear no part of the expense, from inviting Local
Preachers thus to visit them. But it never was intended
to reflect the least disrespect on any of our worthy
brethren, the Local Preachers, who, considered as a
body, we greatly respect. And it should not be lost
sight of, that several of the most respectable Local
Preachers in the kingdom, who were in the Committee
which met the Committee of Preachers appointed by
the Conference, declared their high approbation of the
Rule, and desired that it might be strengthened as
much as possible, as none could justly complain of it.
4. As the Committee above-mentioned requested
also, that the minute of the last Conference, concern-
ing the calling of Meetings to consider of the affairs
of the Society or Connexion, be explained ; and as we
are exceedingly desirous of preserving the peace and
union of the whole body ; we have agreed upon the
following explanation, namely,
(].) As the Leaders' Meeting is the proper Meeting
for the Society, and the Quarterly Meeting for the
Circuit, we think that other formal Meetings, in gene-
ral, would be contrary to the Methodist economy, and
very prejudicial in their consequences. But,
(2.) In order to be as tender as possible, consist-
ently with what we believe to be essential to the wel-
fare of our Societies, we allow that other formal
Meetings may be held if they first receive the appro-
bation of the Superintendent, and the Leaders' or
Quarterly Meeting ; provided also, that the Super-
intendent, if he please, be present at every such
V. We have selected all our ancient Rules, which
were made before the death of our late venerable
Father in the Gospel, the Rev. Mr. Wesley, which are
essential Rules, or prudential at this present time ;
and have solemnly signed them, declaring our appro-
bation of them, and determination to comply with
them, two Preachers excepted, who, in consequence,
withdrew from us.
VI. We have determined that all the Rules which
relate to the Societies, Leaders, Stewards, Local
Preachers, Trustees, and Quarterly Meetings, shall be
published, with the Rules of the Society, for the benefit
and convenience of all the members.
VII. In respect to all new Rules which shall be
made by the Conference :
It is determined, that if, at any time, the Conference
see it necessary to make any new Rule for the Societies
at large, and such Rule should be objected to at the
first Quarterly Meeting in any given Circuit, and
if the major part of that Meeting, in conjunction with
the Preachers, be of opinion, that the enforcing of such
Rule in that Circuit will be injurious to the prosperity
of that Circuit, it shall not be enforced in opposition
to the judgment of such Quarterly Meeting before the
second Conference. But if the Rule be confirmed by
the second Conference, it shall be binding to the whole
Connexion. Nevertheless, the Quarterly Meetings
rejecting a new Rule shall not, by publications, public
Meetings, or otherwise, make that Rule a cause of con-
tention, but shall strive by every means to preserve the
peace of the Connexion.
Thus, brethren, we have given up the greatest part
of our executive government into your hands, as
represented in your different public Meetings.
1 . We have delivered the whole of our Yearly Col-
lection to your management. For we know by expe-
rience, that the bills of the Quarterly Meetings, if only
mere justice be done to the Preachers and their
families, will amount to much more than the Yearly
Collection. The Conference will, in this business,
have no authority whatsoever. They will have nothing
but the trouble of receiving the money, and paying
the bills which shall have been sent to them from the
Quarterly Meetings, and been approved of by the
District Committees. And when the accounts are
published by the Conference, every Quarterly Meeting
may compare its own accounts with those of the Con-
ference, and thereby have as complete a check as the
nature of things can possibly admit of.
The Conference has reserved to itself the manage-
ment of its own Book concerns. This is most reason-
able, as the institution was established for the carrying
on of the work of God, under the direction of Mr.
Wesley and the Conference ; was continued by the
Deed, or codicil of Mr. Wesley's will, for the use
of the Conference ; as the whole burden of the man-
agement of the business lies upon the Conference, and
the servants they employ, and on the Superintendents
of Circuits ; and also, as it is the only fund which can
supply any deficiencies of the Yearly Collection, as the
accounts published in our Minutes for several years
past clearly evidence, the Yearly Collection having not
been nearly sufficient for the wants of the Preachers
and families, and for the carrying on of the work
of God in general.
2. The whole management of our temporal concerns
may now be truly said to be invested in the Quarterly
Meetings, the District-Meetings having nothing left
them but a negative.
3. Our Societies have a full check on the Superin-
tendent by means of their Leaders' Meeting, in regard
to the introduction of persons into Society ; whilst
the Superintendent has sufficient scope allowed him
for the increase of the Societies, not only according to
the common course of things, but at the times of
remarkable out-pourings of the Spirit of God.
4. The members of our Societies are delivered from
every apprehension of clandestine expulsions ; as that
Superintendent would be bold indeed who would act
with partiality or injustice in the presence of the whole
Meeting of Leaders. Such a Superintendent, we trust,
we have not among us : and if such there ever should
be, we should be ready to do all possible justice to our
5. There is now no Society-officer among us who
can be received without the consent of that Meeting to
which he particularly belongs ; nor can any officer be
appointed, except upon the same plan.
6. la order to prevent any degree of precipitation
in making of new Rules, and to obtain information
of the sentiments of our people on every such Rule,
we have agreed to the article mentioned under the
seventh head, by which no regulations will be finally
confirmed till after a year's consideration, and the
knowledge of the sentiments of the Connexion at large,
through the medium of all their public officers.
In short, brethren, out of our great love for peace
and union, and our great desire to satisfy your minds,
we have given up to you far the greatest part of the
Superintendent's authority : and if we consider, that
the Quarterly Meetings are the sources from whence
all temporal regulations during the intervals of the
Conference must now originally spring ; and also, that
the Committee formed according to the Plan of Pacifi-
cation can in every instance in which the Trustees,
Leaders, and Stewards choose to interfere respecting
the gifts, doctrines, or moral character of Preachers
supersede in a great measure the regular District Com-
mittees ; we may, taking all these things into our
view, truly say, that such have been the sacrifices we
have made, that our District Committees themselves
have hardly any authority remaining, but a bare nega-
tive in general, and the appointment of a Representa-
tive to assist in drawing up the rough draft of the
stations of the Preachers. And besides all this, we
have given the Quarterly Meetings opportunity of con-
sidering every new law, of suspending the execution
of it for a year in their respective Circuits, and of
sending their sentiments upon it to the Conference
before it be finally confirmed.
We have represented these measures which we have
taken for your satisfaction, in as concise a manner as
we well could, giving you the sense of the whole, not
only for brevity's sake, but for expedition, that you
may be informed of the general heads of our proceed-
ings as soon as possible. In the Regulations which
will be published with the Rules of the Society, as
mentioned above, you will have the whole at large.
XXXV. SUNDRY ADVICES TO THE PREACHERS.
BE tender of the character of every brother, but
keep at the utmost distance from countenancing sin.
Say nothing in the Conference but what is strictly
necessary, and to the point in hand.
If accused by any one, remember, recrimination is
no acquittance ; therefore avoid it.
Beware of impatience of contradiction ; be firm, but
be open to conviction. The cause is God's, and he
needs not the hands of an Uzzah to support the ark.
The being too tenacious of a point, because you brought
it forward, is only feeding self. Be quite easy if a
majority decide against you.
Use no craft or guile to gain a point. Genuine
simplicity will always support itself. But there is no
need always to say all you know or think.
Beware of too much confidence in your own abili-
ties, and never despise an opponent.
Avoid all lightness of spirit, even what would be
innocent anywhere else. " Thou God seest me,"
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